Kurdish-Spanish Caricaturist Detained and Beaten by Turkey

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Source: Kurdistan America Latina / The Dawn News / August 2016.

Dogan Guzel is one of the best caricaturists in Turkey. Born in the city of Diyarbakir, capital of Turkish Kurdistan, he lives between Istanbul and Seville. Seville is his official residence, since he has lived there for the last decade and in fact is a Spanish citizen and has a Spanish passport.

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Last Tuesday, he was detained in the headquarters of Ozgur Gundem, the newspaper that published his daring and incisive strips. Special units of the anti-terrorist police went to shut down the newspaper, and when Guzel demanded to see the mandatory legal authorization, he was beaten and detained.

Ozgur Gundem, which is the only newspaper that clearly stands for the rights of the Kurdish people and opposed the authoritarian escalade, has now been the latest victim of Erdogan’s campaign to eradicate all forms of opposition in Turkey, helped by the favorable climate after the coup attempt on July 15.

Dozens of media outlets have been shut down and almost a hundred journalists have been detained under the new regime of extraordinary faculties that the Parliament authorized for the government, regardless of the relation between said media and the military coup that took place.

The newspaper was one of the few that took a clear stance against both the military coup and Erdogan’s counterpunch. In fact, due to their defense of the rights of Kurdish people, Ozgur Gundem was regarded as an enemy by both sides of the conflict: the militaries and the AKP party.

On the same raid that arrested Guzel, other 23 journalists were also detained. Police agents also showed up at the personal addresses of the newspapers’ workers, including the house of Eren Keskin, a prestigious Turkish lawyer and Vice President of the Human Rights Association (IHD), who has received several prizes for her work on sexual aggressions on women that are detained in Turkish police stations, military headquarters and prisons for defending the Kurdish and Armenian people.

The current onslaught of the AKP against all forms of opposition is also affecting the pro-Kurdish and pro-minority Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is the third largest parliamentary group in the Turkish National Assembly. Dozens of its leaders have been detained across several cities, and their headquarters have been raided by the police.

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