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Cartoonist threatened for depictions of Ottoman figures

(BIANET/IFEX) - 7 January 2011 - Caricaturist Bahadir Baruter claims that he was threatened and insulted on the Internet after he designed a deck of cards with Ottoman figures resembling insects.

Baruter participated via telephone in the "5N1K" program on CCN Turk. Host Cuneyt Ozdemir asked the caricaturist whether he was concerned. Baruter answered, "I am not concerned for myself but for our country and a perception of conservatism."

Baruter said that he wanted to depict figures of Ottoman sultans instead of the usual drawings borrowed from European royalty. "People who have supposedly been following my work quietly for years now confront me with criticism and ask why I bring our respectable culture together with a despicable insect. Compared to the past, we are going further backwards, in my opinion," he argued.

Fatma Karabiyik Barbarosoglu, a writer for "Yeni Safak" newspaper who was also a guest on the program, said that the Internet was hosting a "language of violence" that should not be accepted. She urged Baruter to "ignore the curses" leveled against him.

Barbarosoglu said that Turkish-Kurdish issues and gender issues were also difficult subjects to address in Turkey.

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