MISS Turkey has been stripped of her crown after an “unacceptable” tweet about a failed coup to overthrow the country’s president.
Stunning Itir Esen, 18, won the beauty pageant in Istanbul on Thursday night and was set to represent the country at the Miss World competition in China.
But organisers said that would not be possible after they discovered a tweet Esen sent around the first anniversary of the coup on July 15 last year.
The coup was aimed at deposing ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but failed and led to mass arrests.
The beauty queen compared the blood of the 249 people who lost their lives in the violence – who are now celebrated in Turkey as martyrs – to her menstrual cycle.
She wrote: “I am having my period this morning to celebrate the July 15 martyrs’ day.
“I am celebrating the day by bleeding on behalf of our martyrs’ blood.”
Pageant organisers said they had seen the tweet after the competition results were announced and held an hours-long meeting to verify it.
Can Sandikcioglu, head of Miss Turkey, said in a statement that the tweet was posted by Itir.
He announced: “The Miss Turkey organisation, whose objective is to promote Turkey in the world and to contribute to its image, cannot accept such a post.”
Itir’s title was handed to Asli Sumen, who came second and who will now represent Turkey at the Miss World contest on November 18.
In a message shared on her Instagram account, Esen said her post was written “carelessly” but was not politically motivated, apologising for any misunderstanding.
“I want to say that as an 18-year-old girl, I had no political aims while sharing this post,” she wrote, saying that she only shared her “innocent thoughts during a sensitive time”.
The teenager added: “My family raised me by teaching to respect our homeland and nation. I do not have a character that could show disrespect to our martyrs.”
Itir is not the first Turkish beauty queen to spark controversy with a social media post.
In 2015, prosecutors launched a probe against ex-Miss Turkey beauty queen Merve Buyuksarac on charges of insulting Erdogan through online messages.
She was given a 14-month sentence, suspended for five years, by an Istanbul court last year.
Opposition critics of the president have decried shrinking freedom of expression under Erdogan in Turkey, where thousands have been prosecuted for social media postings deemed to have insulted the Turkish leader.