FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Criminal Collage

by MICHAEL DICKINSON

 

I was at court on Monday. I had to go with a lawyer and hand a letter of confession to a judge. As a result I am to be charged with insulting the dignity of the Prime Minister of Turkey, and face a possible jail sentence of three years.

Let me explain what happened.

In March this year the Turkish Peace and Justice Coalition (Baris ve Adalet Koalisyon–BAK) were given council permission to put up a ‘Peace Tent’ on the waterfront at Kadikoy (a district of Istanbul where I live). It displayed anti war pictures, posters and banners. There were stands with information and a stage at one end for speeches and concerts.

I took along some of my own antiwar collages (mostly featuring Bush and Blair) to ask if they could be included. It was the first day and BAK was still busy getting everything together, but one guy knew me from exhibitions I’ve done in the past, and gave me carte blanche. I put my pictures (about 10 altogether) up on the inner flap at the entrance. They stayed there for the next few days, attracting the interest of visitors. I didn’t spend much time at the fair myself.

Two days before the Peace Fair was due to end I decided to add a new collage–one of Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Erdogan with the body of a dog, winning first prize in a show, having a Stars n’Stripes rosette attached to his collar by George W Bush. The tent was busy at the time I went. No-one noticed as I stuck it up and left.

When I returned next afternoon I found all my pictures gone. Questioning some stewards I learned that the previous evening a couple of civil police inspecting the tent had taken exception to my picture of Prime Minister Erdogan as a dog and called the uniformed police.

 

This story which appeared in several of last week’s Turkish newspapers explains the situation:

The “Bush’s Dog” court case

“The case against Global Peace and Justice Coalition (BAK) member Erkan Kara for “insulting the dignity of the Prime Minister” has opened. If found guilty he faces a penalty of from 1 to 3 years in prison.

Kara was arrested after a poster showing Prime Minister Erdogan as Bush’s dog’ was stuck up inside the tent erected on March 11 for BAK’s Peace Fair in central Kadikoy to protest the occupation of Iraq by USA.

According to Sesonline, civil police inspecting the place noticed the poster and arrested those on duty in the tent, Erkan Kara, Gulen Sahin, Mehmet Demir, Filiz Ulget and Burak Delier. The poster was also taken.

After statements made to the public prosecutor, charges were dropped against the accused Demir, Sahin, Ulget and Delier, but it was determined that Erkan Kara being responsible for the tent, a charge of insulting the Prime Minister should be brought against him.

Refusing to accept his responsibility, Kara said: “A lot of people were coming and going in the tent. I didn’t see who put the picture up.” The case opens next week at Kadikoy Magistrates Court.”

When I learned about the situation I agreed to write a letter claiming sole responsibility for the offending picture. I went with BAK’s lawyer to the court building this week and presented thde letter officially to the judge, asking for the charge to be dropped against the hapless Kara.

Now however, it is me who will have to face the charge. The date for my appearance in court has yet to be announced. It may take months.

Article 301 of the Turkish constitution makes it an offence to insult the “Turkish identity” or state institutions, including the armed forces. This is a restriction of freedom of speech that does not exist the countries of the EU, and if Turkey really wants to become a member of that organization it would be advisable for them to remove it.

I don’t want to go to prison.

MICHAEL DICKINSON is an English teacher working in Istanbul, Turkey. Dickinson did the cover art for two of CounterPunch’s books, Dime’s Worth of Difference and Serpents in the Garden, as well as Jeffrey St. Clair’s Grand Theft Pentagon. He can be contacted at http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/

 

 

 

More articles by:

Michael Dickinson can be contacted at michaelyabanji@gmail.com.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
July 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jim Kavanagh
Donald the Destroyer: Assessing the Trump Effect
Eva Golinger
There is Still Time to Prevent Civil War in Venezuela
Carl Boggs
The Other Side of War: Fury and Repression in St. Louis
Anthony DiMaggio
“A Better Deal”? Dissecting the Democrats’ “Populist” Turn in Rhetoric and Reality
Conn Hallinan
 Middle East Chaos
Mumia Abu-Jamal
James Baldwin: Word Warrior
Joshua Frank
The Fire Beneath: Los Angeles is Sitting on a Ticking Time Bomb
Myles Hoenig
It Wasn’t Russia, It was the Green Party!
Andrew Levine
Enter Scaramouche, Stage Right
Brian Cloughley
Time to Get Out of Afghanistan
Alan Jones
“Finland Station” and the Struggle for Socialism Today
Robert Hunziker
Plastic Chokes the Seas
Eric Draitser
Enough Nonsense! The Left Does Not Collaborate with Fascists
Vijay Prashad
The FBI vs. Comrade Charlie Chaplin
Jane LaTour
Danger! Men Working
Yoav Litvin
The Unbearable Lightness of Counterrevolution
Charles Derber
Universalizing Resistance: How to Trump Trump
Gary Leupp
The Trump Revolution Devouring Its Own Children
Gregory Barrett
Two Johnstones and a Leftish Dilemma: Nationalism vs. Neoliberalism
Joseph Natoli
Choosing the ‘Arteries that Make Money’
CJ Hopkins
Intersectionalist Internet Blues
Pepe Escobar
China and India Torn Between Silk Roads and Cocked Guns
Ralph Nader
Can the World Defend Itself From Omnicide?
Howard Lisnoff
Agape While Waltzing at the Precipice
Musa Al-Gharbi
Want to Shake Up Status Quo? Account for the Default Effect
Angela Kim
North Korean Policy Must Focus on Engagement Not Coercion
David Macaray
Talking Union
Binoy Kampmark
Refugee Conundrums: Resettlement, the UN and the US-Australia Deal
Robert Koehler
Opening Gitmo to the World
David Jaffee
No Safe Space for Student X
Thomas Knapp
The State is at War — With the Future
David Swanson
What’s Missing from Dunkirk Film
Winslow Myers
There Is Still Time, Brother
Robert J. Burrowes
Biological Annihilation on Earth Accelerating
Frederick B. Hudson – Dr. Junis Warren
Robot Scientists Carry Heavy Human Hearts 
CP Editor
Not My Brother’s Reefer
Sam Lichtman
Where are the Millennials?
Louis Proyect
Death Race: the Cruelties of the Iditarod
Charles R. Larson
Review: Norman Lock’s A Fugitive in Walden Woods
July 27, 2017
Edward Curtin
The Deep State, Now and Then
Melvin Goodman
The Myth of American Exceptionalism
Nozomi Hayase
From Watergate to Russiagate: the Hidden Scandal of American Power
Kenneth Surin
Come Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Andre Vltchek
Philippines: Western Media is Distorting Reality, People and Army Unite to Battle “ISIS”
Robert Fisk
Out of the Ruins of Aleppo: a Syrian Community Begins to Rebuild
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail