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International cartoon exhibition shut down by Turkish authorities

An international cartoon exhibition organized in Didim as part of the 18th Peace Festival – and composed of "DirenGezi" (Resist Gezi) cartoons about the Gezi resistance – was removed by a prosecutor's order. The exhibition included 10 works by cartoonists from Turkey and all around the world, including the work of Kosovan cartoonist Murat Ahmeti, winner of the “Diren Gezi” cartoon competition organized by humor magazine, Don Kisot.

The works were mounted on billboards on the main street on 31 August at 3pm. They were removed, however, by the Didim Police Department after just a few hours. While the festival carried on in the district, an inquiry was opened into the organizers of the exhibition.

Regarding the incident, Erdogan Karayel, chief editor of Don Kisot, stated, "Our country is governed by a mentality that finds it difficult to understand that cartoons [are] a form of satire. On top of that, this was an international exhibition. I don't know how to explain it to the winner of the competition, cartoonist Murat Ahmeti from Kosovo. [Or to] Italian cartoonist Marco De Angelis, and Carlos Latuff, a Palestinian cartoonist and activist based in Brazil…Cartoons, by nature, [are] a free and critical art form. [They have played] an important role in the political sphere throughout our republic's history. Democracy becomes more meaningful with the help of notions like 'freedom, justice and tolerance.' I do apologize on behalf of my country from all cartoonists in the world for what happened today."

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