Oppression in Turkey – President cracks down on critical editorial cartoons

Jay Leiderman
By: Jay Leiderman
January 20 2015

Turkey’s President Traces a New Internal Threat: The Way He’s Drawn in Cartoons

“Critics of Mr. Erdogan and his government have found themselves embroiled in criminal lawsuits while dozens have lost their jobs – victims, critics say, of government efforts to intimidate dissidents. Cartoonists continue to publish their work in a range of independent publications and have branched out into social media. But they are worried about what they see as an increasingly oppressive political climate.”

ISTANBUL — … the episode points to an increasingly difficult environment for editorial cartoonists, who have long been a staple of Turkey’s political culture, as Mr. Erdogan has shown less tolerance for criticism and dissent.

Critics of Mr. Erdogan and his government have found themselves embroiled in criminal lawsuits while dozens have lost their jobs — victims, critics say, of government efforts to intimidate dissidents.

Cartoonists continue to publish their work in a range of independent publications and have branched out into social media. But they are worried about what they see as an increasingly oppressive political climate.

Jay Leiderman handles criminal law cases with allegations of drug and alcohol crimes

“As long as I’ve been aware, there has always been some form of pressure on writers and illustrators,” said Aslan Ozdemir, the editor of Leman, a pioneer of Turkish political cartoon magazines. “Today, we feel the same pressure, but it has changed its face. It might not be the threat of imprisonment as we saw during the 1980 military coup, but it’s an air of oppression by the civilian government.”

[Ventura County, California criminal defense lawyer and State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist Jay Leiderman provides defense of cases involving oppression leveled against activists and hacktivists and all types of cases involving civil rights, political dissent, emerging tech issues in the courts, freedom on the internet, fighting against unjust systems, governmental and prosecutorial overreach, and overall injustice. Jay fights for the underdog. Jay is a lifetime member of the NORML Legal Committee. He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), The National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), The California Public Defender’s Association (CPDA) and is also a lifetime member of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ). He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts.]

42 thoughts on “Oppression in Turkey – President cracks down on critical editorial cartoons

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  26. The environment for human rights in Turkey deteriorated in 2015 with the breakdown of the Kurdish peace process, a sharp escalation of violence in the southeast, and a crackdown on media and political opponents of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

  27. There were two general elections in 2015. In the June 7 election, the AKP lost its overall majority polling at 41 percent, while the left-leaning pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) polled 13 percent, for the first time passing the 10 percent threshold for entering parliament. Failure among the four main political parties to agree the formation of a coalition government precipitated a second general election on November 1, which the AKP won with 49 percent. The run-up to the November election was marked with violence, including an October 10 double suicide bombing in Ankara by individuals linked to the armed extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS). The bombing was the worst single attack in Turkey’s modern history, killing 102 people.

  28. Turkey continued to host large number of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, primarily from Syria but also from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries. The number from Syria surged in 2015, bringing the total to 2.2 million. Conditions and rights protections for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants remain uneven at best, including in relation to education and employment.

  29. The war in Syria also had a growing impact on Turkey’s domestic politics. The AKP publicly advocated the overthrow of the Assad government and creation of a “safe zone” in northern Syria to house Syrian refugees. The latter proposal was strongly opposed by refugee and rights advocates who feared that Syrians could effectively be denied the ability to seek protection outside the country or returned to Syria while becoming easy targets for armed forces. The most notable shift in Turkey’s Syria policy came after the July Suruç bombing when Ankara reached an agreement with the United States to open a Turkish airbase for coalition airstrikes against ISIS and to play a limited role in airstrikes.

  30. More than 400,000 Syrian refugee children living in Turkey are not attending school. While the Turkish government has been generous in its response toward the Syrian refugee crisis, Turkey has struggled to ensure that Syrian schoolchildren have the access to education to which they are entitled under international law.
    Turkey was the main transit route in the European Union for asylum seekers and migrants in 2015, prompting Brussels to agree to a migration action plan with Ankara in November. A lack of effective protection in Turkey for Syrians and others, existing border restrictions with Syria imposed by Turkey, and Turkey’s record of police abuse gave rise to concerns that the deal could deny people access to asylum, trap people in Syria, and lead to police abuse and detention of asylum seekers who try to travel to the EU.

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