Speaking of cartoons, and cartoonists…two cartoonists in Turkey have been sentenced to 11 months in prison for a cartoon about Erdoğan.
A senior Council of Europe (CoE) official has expressed concern over an increase in the number of criminal cases for alleged insults against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, condemning the recent sentencing of two Turkish cartoonists, Bahadır Baruter and Özer Aydoğan.
“I am very concerned about reports from Turkey indicating that there is an increase in the number of criminal cases for alleged insults against the president of the Turkish Republic. In this connection, I condemn the recent sentencing of cartoonists Bahadır Baruter and Özer Aydoğan,” CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks said in a written statement March 26.
If anyone is supposed to be wide open to satire and mockery, it’s people who have real power over others, like oh say heads of state for example.
“This sentence is misguided and, along with a pattern of criminal prosecutions, sends a chilling message to media professionals and all those who want to exercise their right to free expression. I urge the authorities to decriminalize defamation, including by repealing the offence of insulting the president of the Republic, in order to restore a more serene climate in which freedom of expression can be safely exercised.”
Baruter and Aydoğan, cartoonists for the popular satirical weekly Penguen, were sentenced to 11 months in prison over a satirical piece on free speech, in which they were convicted of including a hidden gesture which was said to “insult” Erdoğan. In the cartoon, Erdoğan is seen asking whether officials at the new presidential palace in Ankara have prepared “any journalists to slaughter,” referring to ritual sacrifice in Islam, to mark his inauguration.
A popular satirical weekly, eh? Why does that sound familiar…