The winner of Miss Turkey has had her title stripped from her less than 24 hours after winning the title after an old tweet was discovered where she compared the blood of those who died during the failed military coup in July to her menstrual blood.
Eighteen-year-old Itir Esen had her title revoked after a tweet that she wrote a day after the coup on 15 July 2016 was discovered, causing uproar.
Many Turks took to the internet to criticise the beauty contest winner’s comparison of her menstrual fluid to the “bloodshed” of the victims who died during the failed coup last year.
“This morning I had my period to celebrate the day of the martyrs of July 15. I commemorate this day by pouring by proxy the blood spread by our martyrs,” Esen wrote on her Twitter account a day after the celebration of the first anniversary of the attempted coup d’etat.
“The organisation Miss Turkey, whose goal is to promote and care for the image of Turkey in the world, cannot accept such a publication,” the organisers of the contest said in a statement.
The organisers explained that Esen would have her crown taken away as the tweet was only discovered after the results of the competition had been announced.
Around 250 Turks died when a number of soldiers planned to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and its leader President Recep Tayyip Erdogan through a coup. Erdogan made an appeal live on television calling on Turks to take to the streets and defend their country.
Following the coup a major crackdown was organised against academics, civil service workers, journalists and students to root out dissidence and those who may support another attempt at ousting Erdogan.
Esen, a model and university student, will also be barred from representing her country in Miss World 2017 which will take place in China on 18 November. Her crown was awarded to runner-up Asli Sümen.
In a statement published on her Instagram page, Esen defended herself by saying that the tweet had “no political intent” and apologised for it being misunderstood.
“I was educated with respect for the homeland and the nation … It was a message without bad intention,” she wrote.
Esen is not the first Turkish beauty queen to be stripped of her title due to a social media post; in 2016 Miss Turkey 2006 winner Merve Büyüksaraç was given a one year and two month suspended prison sentence after sharing an Instagram account with a truncated version of the Turkish national anthem which included insults against Erdogan.