Caricaturists Fined For Portraying Turkish President Erdogan as Gay

The cartoon appeared in the satirical magazine Penguen Photo: Penguen via Facebook

Two Turkish caricaturists have been fined by an Ankara court for implying President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was gay in one of their cartoons, Reuters reports.

The illustration behind the ruling against Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan appeared on the cover of the satirical publication Penguen last August in which an official is depicted greeting Erdogan with his right hand while apparently making a circle with the forefinger and thumb with his left hand. This hand gesture is commonly understood in Turkey as a denigrative sign for homosexuals.

The indictment was launched following a citizen’s complaint that the hand signal disregarded the country’s moral values.

Erdogan’s lawyers demanded the cartoonists be punished for “insulting a public official”, Hurriyet newspaper reported. The paper also quoted the cartoonists who denied the charges, saying no such implication was intended.

Both initially received an 11-month prison sentence, which was then reduced to a 7,000 lira ($2,740) fine due to good conduct during trial.

Erdogan has recently launched similar legal actions against a former Miss Turkey winner for allegedly insulting him on social media, and a 13-year old boy who was called in for questioning over a Facebook post.

But the legal system works in both ways. Erdogan was also fined recently for insulting an artist (see Turkish President Erdogan Fined for Insulting Sculpture Celebrating the Reconciliation Between Turkey and Armenia).

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