Cartoon from 19 October 2016, one of the images included in the indictment against its author, Ibhim Özdabak.
This time it was the turn of cartoonist Ibrahim Özdabak (1957) and Kazim Güleçyüz (1959), journalistand editor-in-chief of the daily Yeni Asya , who werecharged by a prosecutor with spreading terrorist propaganda.
The list of people repressed, tried, convicted and imprisoned in Turkey after the coup attempt of 15 July 2016 could be the subject of a multi-volume encyclopaedia, many of whom are cartoonists.
Turkey’s president has a long history of complaints against newspapers, magazines and cartoonists, the particular war he is waging against cartoonists and his obsession with denouncing, fining and arresting perpetrators dates back to the early 2000s.
According to Kronos yesterday , the two will be tried on terrorism charges for some cartoons and Twitter posts.The first hearing of the trial will be held on 2 May at the 29th Istanbul High Criminal Court.
The reaction of the defendants has been swift and sharp and they consider that their work is being criminalised from Yeni Asya they consider that their journalistic work is being criminalised andwill therefore “fight against the defamatory and distorted information” about the newspaper and its employees that has been published, and are preparing their legal defence in the hope of being acquitted.
In addition, they stress that after 15 July, the daily Yeni Asya condemned the coup with resounding headlines taking the side of law and democracy.
Yeni Asya headlines in the days following the failed coup in 2016
The prosecution cites Güleçyüz’s tweets and Özdabak’s cartoons as terrorist propaganda.
Kazim Güleçyüz’s tweets on Twitter
Among Güleçyüz ‘s tweets included in the indictment are some questioning certain accusations against certain elements suspected of involvement in the failed coup of 15 July 2016, after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) launched a massive crackdown on its critics.
Prosecutors accused them of “terrorist” links to the Islamist brotherhood of preacher Fethullah Gülen, which is considered a terrorist group in Turkey after being blamed by the government for the coup attempt.
In a tweet, Güleçyüz said
“In a coup attempt that lasted for hours, the coup plotters do nothing to the government TV stations and allow them” to heroically “resist the coup.”
In another message he qualifies:
“No one with a conscience can accept that the struggle against the coup d’état on July 15 turns into a massacre of innocent people who had nothing to do with the coup or terrorism.”
The cartoons of Ibrahim Özdabak
As far as Özdabak’s cartoons are concerned, the government points to drawings in which he focuses on the tragedies that ordinary people who were accused of participating in the coup attempt had to live through.
Özdabak drew cartoons depicting babies and children separated from their mothers who were imprisoned, as well as children who were imprisoned together with their mothers.
In one of his cartoons(see above), which is cited in the indictment, Özdabak depicts the tragedy of a mother who lost her twins in a prison in Sinop province, where she was imprisoned because of alleged links to Gülen.
“The pregnant woman, who is imprisoned, lost her twin babies. Letter from prison to heaven,” read the caption of the cartoon.
Gallery with some of the cartoons of Özdabak published during 2016
More than 17,000 women have been imprisoned on terrorism charges since the coup attempt in Turkey, and around 750 children are currently accompanying their mothers in prison.
As a result of the massive crackdown after the coup attempt under the pretext of a fight against terrorism, more than 150,000 civil servants lost their jobs, more than 50,000 people were imprisoned and several hundred thousand were detained and investigated on terrorism charges.
Repression in Turkey continues unabatedin the past few years, accusations of participation in the coup have opened the way for repression on more abstract and arbitrary grounds, painters, writers, journalists (a new record was set in 2017), intellectuals, singers, teachers, cartoonists or anyone who criticises the government are persecuted, arrested and imprisoned, even high school students are accused of insulting President Erdogan. The slightest criticism is considered an insult and cases of people denouncing others for insulting the president, the government or officials have increased.
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