Turkish doctor in court after comparing Pres to "Lord of the Rings" character
Film director Peter Jackson releases statement: 'Character Smeagol, not Gollum'
Do you know your Gollum from your Smeagol? It’s a distinction that could save one Turkish man from jail.
Dr. Bilgin Ciftci could face prison after sharing images on his Facebook page, comparing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a “Lord of the Rings” character.
The 47-year-old father-of-two shared a meme of Erdogan alongside the fictional creature in August last year, and was later reported to authorities by an online “friend.”
Insulting the head of state is a punishable offense in Turkey, and Ciftci, a family health doctor from Aydin in western Turkey who lost his job as a result of the case, could reportedly face up to two years in prison if convicted.
But the case could rest on whether the fictional character is indeed offensive – and this is where film director Peter Jackson comes in.
The “Lord of the Rings” director has come to Ciftci’s defense by arguing the images are not of Gollum, but his kindly alter-ego Smeagol.
In the J. R. R. Tolkien fantasy novels, adapted for the big screen by Jackson, Smeagol is corrupted by the One Ring and later becomes known as Gollum.
Jackson and fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens gave a statement lending their backing to Dr. Ciftci.
Referring to the tweet (pictured below), they said: “If the images below are in fact the ones forming the basis of this Turkish lawsuit, we can state categorically: None of them feature the character known as Gollum. All of them are images of the character called Smeagol.”
“Smeagol is a joyful, sweet character. Smeagol does not lie, deceive, or attempt to manipulate others. He is not evil, conniving, or malicious – these personality traits belong to Gollum, who should never be confused with Smeagol,” they added.
“Smeagol would never dream of wielding power over those weaker than himself. He is not a bully. In fact he’s very loveable. This is why audiences all over the world have warmed to his character.”
Dr. Ciftci’s lawyer Hicran Danisman told CNN she will include these statements in the file.
The judge has also called in experts to give a character analysis of Gollum, saying he had not watched the film series himself.
The next hearing, to take place in Aydin, is in February next year.