A Turkish Journalist Is Going To Prison For Tweeting The Letter 'K'

Önder AytaçTwitterÖnder Aytaç

It’s often said that responding to a text or a tweet with a certain single letter — “k” — means you’re angry, or mad, or annoyed.

But while a “k” amongst millennials in the United States can spark a miscommunication between lovers or friends, it can actually put you in prison in Turkey.

Just ask Önder Aytaç, a Turkish columnist for opposition newspaper Taraf.

The Huffington Post reports Aytaç “was sentenced to 10 months in prison Monday for ‘insulting public officials’ after a tweet he wrote about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan contained a typo.”

Here’s the tweet from September 2012, responding to the news that Erdogan was planning to shut down private schools:

In Turkish, the word “ustam” means “my chief” or “my master,” but the letter “K” tacked onto the end of that word changes the meaning significantly.

Now that portion of the message reads “screw off.”

It’s hardly libelous language, but Turkey has strict defamation laws that prohibit insulting public officials.

Tweeting “screw off,” even though Aytaç claims it was a typo, puts the journalist on the naughty list.

In March, Erdogan pledged to “wipe out” Twitter and temporarily banned access to the site.

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