Turkish Cartoonist Jailed For Insulting Erdogan

President of Turkey and the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the AK Party’s parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara on May 8, 2018. PHOTO: ADEM ALTAN / AFP


Turkish police have jailed one of the country’s most prominent cartoonists to serve out a 14-month sentence.

He was first handed down last year on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.

Nuri Kurtcebe, 69, was detained and sent to prison on Monday after a police check found him on a bus travelling in the northwestern Turkish city of Yalova, the private Dogan news agency reported.

His lawyer, Erdem Akyuz, told the media that the authorities were enforcing the sentence after an appeal was turned down by an upper court.

Kurtcebe was sentenced to a one year, two months and 15 days jail term for several caricatures he drew in 2015.

As it is customary in Turkey, he had been allowed to remain free while the appeal was pending. But once the appeal was rejected, an arrest warrant was issued.

“What is recognised all over the world is that artists express their work freely and that politicians, compared to others, are more tolerant to criticism,” Akyuz was quoted as saying by Dogan.

Akyuz also said that it was not clear in the court’s ruling which cartoons or expressions were the source of the charges.

Kurtcebe, whose daily cartoons were published in the Aydinlik newspaper, also drew for a number of publications including Hurriyet and opposition Cumhuriyet newspapers as well as satirical magazine Girgir.

Musa Kart, a Cumhuriyet cartoonist who was sentenced to three years and nine months jail in April on charges of aiding outlawed “terrorist organisations” along with several other staff, lashed out at the court’s verdict.

“It seems that the ruling party has not yet given up on its idea of neutralising cartoonists with prison sentences,” he said, quoted by Cumhuriyet.

“I hope and wish that this political climate deprived of a sense of humour will change on June 25,” he said.

Turkey is heading for parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24 when Erdogan is seeking a new mandate under the expanded powers of a full executive presidency.

Thousands of Turks, from a top model to high school students, have been prosecuted on charges of insulting Erdogan since he became president in 2014.


Turkey-Netherlands Row: Dutch Ambassador Barred

Courtesy: http://www.bbc.com/
Courtesy: http://www.bbc.com/

As a diplomatic row between Turkey and the Netherlands deepens, Ankara said it has barred the Dutch Ambassador from returning to the country, and also suspended high level political talks.

This is in retaliation of a Dutch decision to block Turkey’s Ministers from campaigning for a referendum.

Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands have all blocked Turkish attempts to hold rallies in their countries.

But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has accused the Dutch and Germans of Nazism.

The proposed rallies aimed at encouraging a large number of Turks living in Europe to vote yes, in a referendum on April 16 to expand the President’s powers.

Turkey Wedding Blast Carried Out By Child Aged 12-14

City of Gaziantep, turkey wedding, blast,Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the suicide bombing which killed 51 people in the Turkish city of Gaziantep was carried out by a 12 to 14-year-old.

Mr Erdogan said the so-called Islamic State (IS) was behind the attack, which targeted a Kurdish wedding party. Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, is known to have several IS cells.

The bomb wounded 69 people and 17 of them seriously, he said.

Earlier report said 94 persons were injured in the blast, at an outdoor wedding party in the South Turkish City of Gaziantep.

The sound of the blast which occurred in an area popular with university students, could be heard across the city near the Syrian border.

Gaziantep, where the terrorists have been battling Syrian Kurdish forces is known to have several IS cells.

Turkey has been hit by a series of bombs both by IS and Kurdish militants in the past year, often targeting Kurdish gatherings in an effort to inflame ethnic tensions.

The previous deadliest one was last October at a rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists in Ankara where suicide bombers killed more than 100 people.

Some witnesses describing the scene say, blood and burns marked the walls of the narrow lane where the blast hit. Women in white and checkered scarves cried, sitting cross-legged outside the morgue waiting for word on missing relatives.

25-year- old Veli Can says “The celebrations were coming to an end and there was a big explosion among people dancing, “There was blood and body parts everywhere.”

Security sources said: “hundreds gathered for funerals on Sunday, some weeping at coffins draped in the green color of Islam, local television images showed. But other funerals would have to wait because many of the victims were blown to pieces and DNA forensics tests would be needed to identify them.

In Gaziantep, the chief prosecutor’s office said they had found a destroyed suicide vest at the blast site.


Coup Attempt: Turkey Suspends Suspected Police, Military Officials

Turkey CoupAlmost 8,000 Police officers suspected to be connected with the failed coup attempt in Turkey have been suspended, officials say.

Turkish judiciary and military personnel numbering about 6,000 have also been detained in connection with the attempted overthrow over the weekend.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to purge the state bodies of the “virus” that had caused the uprising.

The Foreign Policy Chief of the European Union, Federica Mogherini, stressed the importance of the rule of law prevailing.

She said that ministers shared concerns about “what is happening in Turkey in these hours”.

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, also emphasised the importance of democratic rule.

“We will certainly support bringing perpetrators of the coup to justice, but we also caution against a reach that goes well beyond that,” BBC quoted Mr Kerry.

The Turkish government claimed Cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the plot while Gulen who lives in the United States strongly denied any involvement in the rebellion.

Turkey Election: Ruling AKP Regains Victory

turkey electionTurkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won a critical parliamentary election on Sunday, regaining the majority it lost in June.

With almost all ballots counted, the AKP had taken just shy of 50 per cent of the votes, comfortably enough to control a majority in the 550-seat parliament and a far higher margin of victory than even party insiders had expected.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that voters had “shown that they prefer action and development to controversy”. The pro-Kurdish HDP crossed the 1o per cent  threshold needed to claim seats.

Erdogan said that the outcome was a vote for stability and a message to Kurdish insurgents in the country’s restive southeast that violence could not coexist with democracy.

Prime Minister and AKP leader, Ahmet Davutoglu,  said on Twitter: “Today is a victory for our democracy and our people. Hopefully, we will serve you well for the next four years and stand in front of you once again in 2019.”

The nationalist MHP would also take seats in Ankara.

In a statement, President Erdogan said that the electorate had “given proof of their strong desire for the unity and integrity” of Turkey.

At AKP headquarters in Ankara, under a sky lit by fireworks, he later urged Turkey’s political parties to work together on a new constitution, which Erdogan has said he would like to see include executive powers for the presidency.

A senior official from the main CHP opposition, which had calculated on ‘reining in’ Erdogan’s influence with a coalition government, described the result as “simply a disaster”.

The outcome could aggravate deep splits in Turkey between pious conservatives, who champion Erdogan as a hero of the working class, and Western-facing secularists suspicious of his authoritarianism and Islamist ideals.

In June, the AKP lost the overall majority it had enjoyed since 2002.

In the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, security forces fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters after support for the pro-Kurdish opposition fell perilously close to the 10 per cent threshold needed to enter parliament.