Lonely Planet Writer

Experts to study Turkish President-Gollum comparison

The trial of  a man who compared the Turkish President Recep Erdogan to the Lord of the Rings character Gollum, has been postponed as the presiding judge hasn’t seen the movies and is unable to determine whether it is an insult or not.

Gollum
Gollum Image by Screengrab from The Hobbit

Turkish man Bilgin Çiftçi, who worked in the public health service, was put on trial after he posted an image of Erdogan and Gollum that compared the two and called attention to their similarity of expressions.

Local newspaper Today’s Zaman reported that the court had been adjourned so that a team of so-called experts may study JRR Tolkien’s books and  determine whether or not the comparison to the fantastical creature was indeed an insult to the president.

Those familiar with The Lord Of The Rings will know Gollum as the disfigured hobbit, who equally helps and impedes Bilbo and Frodo on their journey to Mount Doom. He talks to himself and is characterised by a split personality and  a love for fish.

Social media has had a field day with the trial, using one of Gollum’s own terms – ‘precious’ – to describe the Turkish president’s reaction.

Recep Erdogan
Recep Erdogan

The trial comes shortly after the re-election of Erdogan’s party and after a series of media crackdowns that have seen watchdogs call Turkey out for heavy-handed censorship and the persecution of local journalists.