Turkey’s Crackdown on Cartoons

By Carlos Latuff

By Carlos Latuff

Ever since the failed coup attempt in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has instigated a crackdown that has led to 50,000 arrests and the loss or jobs for nearly 100,000 people. Cartoonists are among the victims of Erdoğan’s censorious campaign.

CBLDF has reported extensively on Musa Kart, a political cartoonist who was arrested along with several journalists at Cumhuriyet newspaper. Musa Kart faces 29 years in prison over charges that he and his colleagues supported Kurdish militants and the Gulenist movement.

Other cartoonists and individuals who shared cartoons and images online have also suffered under Erdoğan’s attacks on opposition:

  • Dogan Güzel, the recipient of Cartoonists Rights Network International’s very first Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award in 1999, was arrested along with nearly two dozen other people when the Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem was shut down by government order.
  • Actor and columnist Orhan Aydin was given a suspended sentence of 11 months and 20 days prison for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after he shared a cartoon by Brazilian Carlos Latuff on social media. 
  • Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Doğan was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison for her painting showing the aftermath of the government’s assault on a Kurdish city last year after authorities claimed that she endangered security by depicting an ongoing military operation in Nusaybin, but in fact her painting was based on a government photograph that showed the same scene.
  • The Turkish satirical magazine Gırgır was abruptly shut down all of its staff laid off in response to a cartoon that irreverently depicted Moses and was deemed offensive to both Jews and Muslims. 
  • A TV network that airs cartoons and children’s shows in Kurdish, including some locally-produced content alongside a slate of dubbed imports such as Spongebob SquarepantsThe Smurfs, and Garfield, was among media outlets shut down by the Turkish government.

A recent Albawaba article collected some of the cartoons in opposition to Erdoğan, many of them by cartoonists well outside the reach of the Turkish president’s persecution. Here’s a selection of the images they compiled:

Payam Boromand

By Payam Boromand (Austria)

Marian Kamensky

By Marian Kamensky (Austria, via The Cartoon Movement)


By Carlos Latuff (Brazil)

Ed Hall

By Ed Hall (United States)

Read CBLDF’s previous coverage on the attacks against Musa Kart: