Two great cartooning organizations that I support, Cartooning for Peace and Cartoonists Rights Network International are spotlighting the arrest and imprisonment of Turkish cartoonist Dogan Güzel who was swept up in a mass arrest of journalists as he was visiting colleagues at the pro-Kurdish newspaper, Özgür Gündem in central Istanbul, which was raided and closed in the wake of the failed July 15th coup in Turkey. The Turkish police reportedly confiscated computers at the newspaper offices, which editors described as “looting” on Twitter.
Dogan was convicted, sentenced to seventeen years in prison and spent a year and a half in jail for drawing cartoons critical of the regime in Turkey. He was given amnesty in 1999 and moved to Spain where he lived for more than ten years and was given political asylum; he is a Spanish citizen. He now lives in both Seville and Istanbul. Dogan is being held on the charge of “making propaganda for the Kurdish armed group PKK”.
The Özgür Gündem newspaper is small, with a circulation of only 6,700; it has been banned many times for its coverage of the Kurdish conflict, a continuing thorn in the side of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who seems to be using the coup as an opportunity jail all of his critics. Here is a nice report in Spanish. There is little or no coverage of this story in English.
Cartoonist Dogan Güzel was among the journalists arrested in the government raid on the Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem in Istanbul on Tuesday. Photos show the cartoonist in a torn shirt in police custody. In 1999, Dogan Güzel was the first recipient of CRNI’s Courage in Political Cartooning award. At that time, he had just spent a year in jail for “drawing a cartoon that called the state ‘weak,’ and for publishing his cartoons in the Kurdish language.” Cartoonists Rights joins Reporters Without Borders in condemning the closure of the newspaper and calls for the release of the journalists.
Here is a sample of Dogan’s work. See more here.