Jul 18 2018

Turkish prosecutors investigate opposition leader for sharing cartoon

Turkish prosecutors are investigating the leader of the main opposition party to decide whether to charge him with insulting the president for sharing a cartoon showing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a variety of animals in solidarity with students arrested for putting the image on a banner at their graduation, secularist newspaper Sözcü said.

Thirteen years ago, a court dismissed charges that the cartoon, entitled “The World of Tayyips”, insulted Erdoğan by depicting the then-prime minister as a number of animals. The cartoon was drawn in response to Erdoğan suing another cartoonist who depicted him as a cat getting caught up in a ball of string.

Three students at the prestigious Middle East Technical University held up the cartoon on a banner at their 2018 graduation ceremony. Police detained them on July 7 and they have been jailed ever since. Another person accused of printing the banner was also detained.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu tweeted an image of the cartoon and said:  “You cannot tolerate criticism and poking fun, but you should! You cannot beat criticism and humour by throwing people in jail.”