Reports emerge from Turkey that a cartoonist has been given a prison sentence for “insulting sacred values”.
Seyfi Şahin has been jailed for one year and fifteen days after portraying the Biblical figure of Moses in a cartoon, says the Stockholm Center for Freedom, Turkey Purge and Turkish Minute blogs.
The cartoon in question led to the sudden and complete closure of the Gırgır humour magazine in 2017. Our original news item published on the 17th of February last year is below.
Şahin is far from the only media worker to suffer persecution Turkey, the biggest jailer of journalists on Earth, and not even the sole cartoonist. Our past Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award winners Musa Kart and Dogan Güzel have both endured further woes in recent years and all Turkish cartoonists in contact with CRNI attest to a more difficult environment as outlets for their work are variously censored and curtailed.
The Dokuz8 news feed reports that Turkish magazine Gırgır has been closed due to the publication of a cartoon featuring the figure of Moses.
One of Turkey’s oldest satirical magazines #GırgırDergisi shut down over religious cartoon. pic.twitter.com/AxSn3WY14v
— dokuz8 NEWS (@dokuz8_EN) February 17, 2017
However CRNI understand that the modern incarnation of Gırgır is different from the original magazine which at one time was the most popular in the country.
The charge of religious hatred is reflected in reports on ABC News and elsewhere. The contention that “ulterior sinister motives” were at play echoes the accusations levelled at cartoonists, journalists, media workers, public servants and academics who have been variously dismissed and jailed across Turkey under the regime of Recep Erdoğan. The President was a regular subject of fun for the magazine.
A statement from their now-defunct Twitter account apparently expressed sincere regret over any offence caused, citing “lack of sleep and exhaustion” for its appearance in print.
The front cover of the latest and evidently last issue of the magazine.