English Artist Insults Turkishness in Turkey

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English Collage Artist Michael Dickinson in Turkey..
September 2007

The English collage artist Michael Dickinson had been accused of insulting the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He was held by Turkish police for ten days after exhibiting works which included one where Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was depicted as a pet dog being patted by president Bush.

american president george bush and turkish prime minister erdogan

The above image by Michael Dickinson is one of the offending collages that may cost the artist up to 2 years in prison. It depicts the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush treating the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his pet dog.

The collage below, by the artist Michael Dickinson shows the Turkish prime minister as dog, held by the leash of the American flag, and chewing on bundles of American dollars.

The artist thought he had served his time and that the issue would be dropped, but he has was summoned to appear in court on the 8th of October and faces up to two years in a Turkish prison.

Michael Dickinson says "When the judge asked me to describe what I was trying to say in my 2 collage pictures of Erdogan in the role of America's dog, I said that it was up to the viewer to make his own interpretation; a visual artist shouldn't need to explain in words. Pictures are for eyes. Words (spoken) are for ears.

I said that over the years I'd made countless collage pictures of President George W Bush and Tony Blair in much more unflattering roles without persecution. In the Western/European world, artists are allowed to express their feelings in their works."

A petition for the artist and freedom of rights in Turkey, along with more information on the archaic law of "insulting Turkishness" can be found at the MungBeing website.

More works can be found at the artist's website here. He calls his site Yabanji, which is the Turkish word for stranger, foreigner, or outsider, which he sees as himself living in Turkiye.

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