Does Gollum-Erdogan link ring true?

Tolkien's fantasy character Gollum and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Tolkien's fantasy character Gollum and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Tolkien's fantasy character Gollum and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Tolkien's fantasy character Gollum and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

ISTANBUL • A Turkish court has asked experts to analyse the Lord Of The Rings character Gollum to decide whether a doctor should be jailed for comparing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the figure, according to media reports.

Bilgin Ciftci is facing up to two years in jail for insulting the President, a crime in Turkey, after sharing images comparing Mr Erdogan to Gollum - a thin, pale, gangrel creature with a personality split between good and evil in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels and the hugely successful films.

Ciftci was sacked from his hospital and briefly detained in October for sharing images comparing Mr Erdogan's facial expressions when eating, expressing surprise and amazement, to those of Gollum.

Unable to decide whether Mr Erdogan truly looks like Gollum, the court in the western province of Aydin asked a group of experts - two academicians, two psychologists as well as a cinema authority - to determine whether the comparison was an insult, the Milliyet newspaper reported yesterday.

Bilgin Ciftci, a doctor, was sacked from his hospital and briefly detained for sharing images comparing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's facial expressions to those of Gollum.

The judge took the decision after admitting to not having seen the whole of the fantasy blockbusters, based on the novels and directed by Peter Jackson.

The court agreed to adjourn the case until February while the experts analyse Gollum, Milliyet said.

The case comes amid growing concern in Turkey over the spiralling numbers of journalists, bloggers and ordinary people who are being taken to court on charges of insulting Mr Erdogan and other top officials.

In another case that has garnered huge attention, model and former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac went on trial in May on charges of insulting the President.

And last week, two of Turkey's most prominent journalists - Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dundar and its Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul - were arrested on spying charges in a case that has caused global concern.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2015, with the headline 'Does Gollum-Erdogan link ring true?'. Print Edition | Subscribe