Mika Can Raun, a social media celebrity, was detained after releasing a video on Instagram in which she flushes TL 100 ($5.37) down the toilet, the Sözcü daily reported on Monday.
“People are throwing money into streams and fountains in Europe, [and] nothing happens. Is it a crime because I put 100 lira into the sewage of my beautiful country?” Raun said in response to people who asked why she flushed the money down the toilet.
According to Sözcü, the internet personality was detained by police from the İstanbul cybercrime unit for allegedly “degrading the symbols of state sovereignty.” Raun was then sent to court.
Raun’s Instagram post comes at a time when the lira has lost more than half its value against the dollar in the past year alone and has been the worst performer in emerging markets for several years running due largely to economic and monetary policy concerns under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. The lira traded at 18.59 to the US dollar on Monday, down more than 28 percent so far this year.
A yearly report by Freedom House on global internet freedom revealed earlier in October that internet freedom continued to decline for the fourth year in a row in Turkey and that thousands of online users, including members of the political opposition, faced criminal charges for their social media activities during the period covered.
Between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022, the period covered in the report, pro-government “troll networks” orchestrated smear campaigns against outspoken activists, and prominent journalists faced physical violence for their online reporting, Freedom House said, adding that Turkey was rated as “Not Free,” scoring 32 out of 100 points, down from 34 the previous year.