The 2018 International Press Drawing Prize, presented biannually in Geneva, has been awarded to a Turkish cartoonist recently sentenced to almost four years in prison for “aiding terrorism”.
Musa Kart, a 64-year-old artist working with the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, was awarded the prize “for his talent and courage in defending freedom of expression and artistic creation”, announced the Swiss Cartooning for Peace Foundation on Thursday.
Kart, an emblematic figure at the long-established Cumhuriyet newspaper who regularly lampoons political figures from Turkey and beyond, was described as a “free spirit and a remarkable artist” by Swiss cartoonist Chappatte, a member of the jury.
Kart was unable to travel to Geneva to collect the award, as he is currently appealing a prison term of three years and nine months handed down to him after the July 2016 coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Kart, along with 14 colleagues, is accused of “association with a terrorist organization” and currently cannot leave his country.
Cumhuriyet – ‘Republic’ in English – has regularly come under pressure from Erdogan due to its critical views; it’s editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu was also detained after the 2016 coup, which authorities claimed the newspaper helped to legitimise.
The International Press Drawing Prize was founded in 2012 by the Cartooning for Peace foundation along with the city of Geneva, and aims to recognize artists who are endangered by their commitment to freedom of expression and speech.
The prize was announced to coincide with World Press Freedom DayExternal link and also marks the start of a month-long exhibition of press cartoons that will run along the Quai Wilson in Geneva.
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