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Want to win 1,000 pounds? The #InsultErdogan contest is now open

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:50 IST

If you're in Turkey, it's not wise to be openly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In newspapers (it'll get taken over by the state), on social media (arrested or sued) and even among your own friends.

Or share a meme.

Oh, and wait. If you're in Germany, it's not safe either. Especially if you write satirical poems that make sexual references to the Turkish president - suggesting the esteemed leader, among other things, had kebab breath and enjoyed sex with goats.

Jan Boehmermann found that out the hard way recently when Germany opened the door for the comedian to potentially be prosecuted over a TV broadcast.

But if you really want to call out the man for what he is and win some money while at it, you might want to send in an entry to The Spectator's contest where the author of the most offensive poem about Erdogan can win a 1,000 pounds.

Also read - Lord of the Ridiculous: Erdogan commands Turkish court to probe Gollum

(You can submit all entries to [email protected], under the heading 'The President Erdogan Offensive Poetry Competition'.)

Luckily, in the UK, you can't be arrested, fined or punished by law for making a joke about a member of government or any other world leader just because the fellow in power feels insulted.

Reddit came to the rescue to sum up free speech in the UK:

So let the #InsultErdogan contest begin!

"I'm a free-born British man, and we don't live under the blasphemy laws of such despots," wrote columnist Douglas Murray of The Spectator. "So in honor of this fact I have spent the weekend writing rude limericks about Mr Erdogan. And I would hereby like to invite all readers to join me in a grand Erdogan limerick competition."

The main criteria: Submissions must be as "filthy and insulting as possible".

Murray initially said that he wasn't offering any prizes, except the affirmation of freedom of speech. But since then, a benefactor has stepped in and offered a 1,000 pounds to the winner.

And he's not kidding about being coarse; obscene mockery is the name of the game. Here's one of his attempts:

"Recep Erdogan is the Turk'll

Never tire of rim-jobs from his circle

Yet his chief-est delight

(Now Khilafa's in sight)

Are the felchings he gets from Frau Merkel"

Catch's Ranjan Crasta gave it a shot with one mildly dirty one and three tame ones:

1.There once was a leader from Turkey

whose mind was unbearably quirky

He jailed men for a joke

Making regular folk

think democracy just isn't working

2.When Turkey elected their ruler,

they were hoping that he'd be much cooler

but he's touched in the head

and want's the Kurds dead

They really don't come too much crueller

3.Turkey's a country in crisis

Coz Erdogan secretly supports ISIS

I'm not saying he's the worst

but Istanbul is cursed

for electing a despot both cruel and mindless

4. Erdogan's prick is shrivelled and small,

It looks like a prune and has no use at all,

It smells like bad fish,

hasn't been touched since O Six,

And hangs over his one lonely ball

He's not the only one happy to exploit the opportunity of hitting out at Erdogan with the possible bonus of winning a happy chunk of cash.

A thin-skinned government

Turkey has a visibly thin-skinned government these days: in the past two years some 1,845 cases have been filed over insults to the president.

Not just that, Turkey's World Press Freedom Index ranking has plummeted to 149 out of 180, below Zimbabwe (131) and Burundi (145).

And despite the ruling of Turkey's judicial system that Erdogan could not eliminate access to Twitter, he has continued to advance his agenda of censorship and pledges to "eradicate Twitter" which, according to him, encourages "blasphemy and criticism of the Turkish government".

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour where she questions him about his thin skin, he speaks of how one "shouldn't confuse criticism with insult".

That confirms everything we know about Erdogan's super ability to sniff out insults from anywhere and everywhere.  

So there you have it. One thousand British pounds are on the line. Let the insults begin!

P.S: For those of you in Turkey, might we suggest anonymous entries? A thousand pounds won't cover the lawyer's fee to get you out of jail!

First published: 20 April 2016, 11:25 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.