A woman was arrested in Turkey this week after she posted a photo on Twitter of red-stilettoed feet standing on the Quran.
The unnamed woman in her mid-30s was taken into custody in Istanbul on Tuesday on suspicion of blasphemy and inciting religious hatred, Agence France Pressereported. She was released after questioning.
Police launched the investigation after the firebrand mayor of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, filed a legal complaint against her, according to Turkey’s Dogan News Agency.
“No one has a right to insult our religion,” Gokcek wrote on Twitter, and posted the original photo. Standing or laying shoes on an image is often used as a sign of disrespect in the Middle East, where feet are considered unclean.
Turkey, a majority Muslim nation, has a long history of deep divisions between ardent secularists and religious conservatives.
Gokeck is a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) party, which has Islamist roots. Despite its largely moderate agenda, the AKP’s dominance over Turkey’s politics over the last decade has left some secularists uneasy.
The woman who posted the photo describes herself as an atheist on her Twitter profile, which is emblazoned with a quote from modern Turkey’s secular founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The Ankara mayor in particular has a reputation for kicking up a storm in Turkey — often on Twitter — including goading anti-government protesters and branding a BBC reporter as a spy.
The mayor is also voraciously litigious. He recently told Turkish newspaper Hurriyetthat he had sued around 3,000 people for Twitter posts.
Agence France Press said Gokcek is now suing the woman who posted the red-stiletto photo for insulting religion, inciting religious hatred and threatening public peace.