Erdogan and freedoms. The cartoon of Sunday 07/10/16 on CTXT
For Erdogan, freedoms are a dead letter. And press freedom is no exception. After wiping out a lot of newspapers, closing radio stations and TV channels, he is continuing with the big purge in which at least 130 journalists have been arrested after the coup attempt. Some 150 media outlets have been shut down in the past three months.
On 31 October, 13 journalists were arrested in a raid on the daily Cumhuriyet.
Cartoonist to jail
Among those arrested were the editor, several editors and also the cartoonist Musa Kart, who ended up in jail.
Where Musa Kart’s cartoon was supposed to appear today (07/11/2016), the newspaper has planted a symbolic blank space
The same blank space is also published in its digital version.
The detainees spent 5 days without being able to communicate with a lawyer. The homes of some of them were searched, such as that of Akin Atalay, a member of the editorial board, who is currently abroad.
Nine of them have been remanded in custody.
Musa Kart, interrogated in 2008 and prosecuted in 2014
The cartoonist is one of those who has been put behind bars. Erdogan already had it in for him. It was not the first time he had tried to imprison him.
They were asking for nine years and ten months in prison for the cartoonist, the case was brought to court on Thursday 23 October 2014. Cartoonists from around the world once again singled out Erdogan as an enemy of freedoms. Musa was acquitted in that trial.
22 January 2008, Musa Kart y Zafer Timuçin were interrogated at the Sisli Republic prosecutor’s office in Istanbul. They faced a five-year prison sentence for “insulting the President of the Republic”, for the publication of two cartoons, also in the newspaper Cumhuriyet.
“We regret that both cartoonists have to go through these abusive legal proceedings and we recall that this is not the first such case in Turkey,” Reporters Without Borders said at the time.
The first incriminated cartoon, by Musa Kart, was published in the daily Cumhuriyet on 28 November 2007. Itreferred to President Abdullah Gül’s influence in the affairs of his 16-year-old son, who traded in corn, and depicted him as a scarecrow in a cornfield.
Zafer Timuçin’s cartoon, published on 29 November 2007, depicted the president emerging from an envelope, sent to an Arab prince on holiday in the resort town of Bodrum, protected by gendarmes who were paid $5,000 to do the job. Timuçin put in Abdullah Gül’s mouth:
“Your Excellency, this is the money the gendarmes are returning to you, and I offer you the rose so that relations between our countries are not spoiled”.
The two cartoonists were facing 5 years and 4 months in prison under article 299 of the Turkish penal code. This article, in force since 1 June 2005, states that:
“Anyone who insults the President may incur a sentence of one to four years in prison. The penalty shall be increased by one-sixth if the offence is committed openly, and by one-third if it is committed through the media”.
According to statements made on 24 January 2008 by the secretariat of the Republic, “the procedure was initiated by the Ministry of Justice and there is no obstacle to a trial.
In the last two years, the Prime Minister had already brought Musa Kart and three other cartoonists before the courts. The Turkish courts then recommended that he :
“be generous with humour”.
Cumhuriyet in the spotlight
In May 2015, Erdogan had already warned the newspaper that he was not joking and, together with the Turkish secret services (MIT), brought an accusation against the newspaper following the publication of images suggesting that Turkey was smuggling weapons into Syria camouflaged in boxes of medicines.
The prosecution then demanded aggravated life imprisonment on charges of “revealing state secrets” for two Cumhuriyet reporters.
Now they are accused of alleged links to the movement of the cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for the July 15 coup attempt, and to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the newspaper denies.
Erdogan says that for a pimp, his pimp is his pimp. He has made it clear:
“I don’t care i am called a dictator, or whatever, it goes in one ear and out the other“.
And in passing he accuses Europe, in general, of aiding terrorism.
Meanwhile, after the arrest of Kurdish HDP deputies, we read that Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and other networks are being blocked in Turkey and only work with VPN.
Some other exploits of the Turkish government: