By Steve Sweeney in Britain:
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Campaign to share satirical cartoon lampooning Erdogan launched
FREE speech campaigners called for people to share the World of Tayyips cartoon on social media today in solidarity with those charged with insulting Turkey’s president.
The Initiative for Freedom of Expression (Ifax) warned against the criminalisation of social criticism and launched its campaign to “tell Turkey that satire is not a crime.”
Members called on all those who believe in freedom of expression to share the cartoon, which depicts Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a series of animals, in solidarity with those facing trial.
Four students from the Middle East Technical University were detained in July for carrying a banner displaying a caricature which first appeared in the Turkish satirical magazine Penguen at their graduation ceremony.
And the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has also been prosecuted after the party shared World of Tayyips on its official Twitter account.
Mr Erdogan also filed criminal complaints against 72 CHP MPs who shared the cartoon.
An Ifex statement said: “Satirical cartoons of political leaders are widely understood as a crucial form of social commentary around the world. In Turkey, however, they’re yet another way the government criminalises social criticism.”
The group condemned the “punitive investigations” that have been launched against the students, MPs and the leader of the government’s main opposition party.
Mr Erdogan has moved to crush all criticism of his authoritarian rule in Turkey. More than 800 people have been detained for social media posts protesting against the illegal war and occupation of Afrin in northern Syria.
Turkey remains the largest jailer of journalists anywhere in the world, with a third of the global total.
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