Cartoonist Öznur Kalender is being judged for this cartoon
Turkish authorities are responsible for 90% of cases of violations of freedom of expression in art
The report freemuse report on the State of Artistic Freedom 2021 in Turkey highlights that the actions of the authorities are a major obstacle to the exercise of artistic freedoms in the country, being responsible for 90% of the cases of violations they documented.
From the data they worked with, they found that in 2020, violations of the freedom of expression of cartoonists and illustrators accounted for 27% of the cases.
Öznur Kalender, on trial for the same old thing
To the many cases of cartoonists censored, detained, prosecuted and/or imprisoned in Turkey (I have written about a good deal) we can add one of the most recent ones, that of Öznur Kalender who is being tried for“offending the religious beliefs of society by insulting religious leaders” for drawing a cartoon satirising Cübbeli Ahmet Hodjaa religious figure in Turkey.
According to Sözcüthe Presidential Communication Center (CIMER) filed a criminal complaint with the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which prompted the prosecutor’s office to file a lawsuit against the cartoonist for allegedly “insulting religious leaders and the religious beliefs of society”.
The hearing was held on 25 February. The author, who was questioned about the content and intention of his cartoons, said that he had been treated very cordially by the judges. He was even allowed to engage in some debate.
Kalender showed in the courtroom several cartoons satirising other leaders such as Süleyman Demirel, Bülent Ecevit, Turgut Özal, Necmettin Erbakan and Erdal Inönü and stressed that in his 52 years of professional life none of these caricatured people were upset; “they were tolerant and respectful of freedom of thought and expression”. He even recalled that the eighth president Turgut Özal even framed his caricatures and hung them on the walls of the Çankaya’ mansion.
According to reports the cartoonist, in his speech he asked the judge for permission to talk to him about the 1970s and confessed to him:
“You grew up with these publications and you were happy. You used to read the (humour) magazines that were published every week, and you, the children of those who made them, are judging me here today. This is what hurts me. The trial was adjourned until 8 July.
Source Freemuse. An independent international non-governmental organisation that defends freedom of artistic expression and cultural diversity. It has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) and consultative status with UNESCO.
Humour in trouble, collection of cases (III)
Cases of cartoonists who have had problems of some importance because of their cartoons or satirical illustrations. There are also some stories of other people who, without being cartoonists, have got into trouble for sharing them.