The 200th day has dawned on cartoonist Musa Kart and his colleagues from Cumhuriyet newspaper, jailed and awaiting trial on bogus charges pertaining to terrorism.
As Musa faces the possibility of a twenty-nine year custodial sentence, cartoons in solidarity continue to appear on the front page spot he vacated in November last year at the time of his arrest, as above.
We previously reported on the newspaper’s efforts to lodge a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights, stating that Turkey’s courts have failed to adhere to their own laws and broken international conventions guaranteeing freedom of speech etc.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs met earlier this week with Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The current situation in Turkey was the sole agenda item.
Sec Gen. Ragland said that while the council cannot sit in judgment on the guilt or innocence of the accused, they are responsible for the safeguards that result in fair judicial procedure. The constitutional court in Turkey must be given its place and an opportunity to deal with complaints and appeals but the ECHR has made it known that it considers the cases of imprisoned journalists in the country a priority. He had an additional word of warning for the regime of President Recep Erdoğan: “National governments are not allowed to do whatever they want, even if they have a majority.”
Musa and the Cumhuriyet group’s sorry anniversary comes in the same week that Penguen humour magazine ceased publication after fifteen years, a meeting between Erdoğan and President Donald Trump failed to acknowledge human rights violations in Turkey, Erdoğan protestors were beaten on the streets of Washington DC and evidence surfaced of Trump’s private desire to emulate Erdoğan with a crackdown on journalists. Whether the American president harbours the same enmity for cartoonists as the Turkish remains to be seen.