Cartoons in Turkey - from Abdülhamid to Erdoǧan

Efrat E. Aviv

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5 Scopus citations


From Abdül-Hamid's regime and onward, cartoons have been a powerful influential gauge and have played an important role in the political arena in Turkey. The purpose of this essay is to express continuity in the way Turkish politicians have reacted to cartoons throughout the years. This essay argues that cartoons create a change in public opinion and are thus perceived as a threat to the regime, which therefore wishes to eliminate or minimize the cartoon's power. This essay will discuss the similarities and distinctions of regime responses in Turkey, introduce the history and the conception of cartoons in Ottoman Empire-Turkey and will dedicate a prominent part to the Erdoǧan's attitude to cartoons and its impact on Turkish society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-236
Number of pages16
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Personal freedom in general was rooted out under Sultan Abdu€lhamid II and publishing in particular was suppressed. Although censorship had already been well established prior to Abdu€lhamid II’s rule, the ruler did his part to increase censorship laws. In 1857, the first Ottoman Printing Law was decreed. This law did not specifically mention the press. Permits to operate a printing establishment in Istanbul were subject to review by the Council of Education (Encumen-i Maarif) and by the Ministry of Police. The Council of Education’s job was to decide whether the publication contained anything harmful to the Ottoman state. Punishments for such violations were specified by the Penal Code of 1858.17 The Press and Journalism Regulation Code (Matbuat Nizamnamesi), inspired by French law and accompanied by the establishment of a censorship office, was put into effect in 1864. Under the code, the press needed special permission to open print houses, to print books, and to bring foreign publications into the country. The code also stated that visible actions such as carrying, selling, distributing harmful or indecent publications, and possessing large amounts of such publications were crimes. In addition, the code required government authorization of all publications, regardless of the language they were written in, either by the Ministry of Public Instruction (Ottoman applicants) or by the Foreign Ministry (foreigners). A copy of each paper was required to be sent to the Press Bureau (established in 1862).


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