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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Turkish singer on flag 'insult' charge
Hulya Avsar
Hulya Avsar's problems began with a viewer's complaint
A Turkish pop star has been charged with insulting the country's flag - after she walked on a stage covered with balloons bearing the country's emblem and kicked one of them.

Hulya Avsar, a singer, actress and talk-show hostess, could face a six-month prison sentence for the offence.

The two businessmen who sold the balloons, and two women employees who equipped the TV station, were also charged, said a local news agency.

The prosecution was sparked by a complaint from a viewer who saw Ms Avsar's appearance on a private TV channel in April.

Turkish flag
The Turkish Flag Law was adopted in the 1930s
The singer apparently kicked the balloons by accident and the viewer's complaint - that she had insulted the national flag - has itself attracted much public criticism.

The indictment by Turkish prosecutors said the five accused had breached the Turkish Flag Law, which states "the flag cannot be put in places where it can be trodden on and cannot be reproduced on objects".

The incident has prompted debates in the country about whether parliament should reform the law, which was adopted in the 1930s following the establishment of modern Turkey on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

It is not yet known when Ms Avsar's hearing will begin.

See also:

03 Feb 99 | Europe
21 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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