The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has come under fire once again with a banner it displayed in one of its election offices in Denizli, which featured a caricature in which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was depicted as a sultan driving a train and a group of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) voters as passengers in the wagons of the train.
Fethullah Gülen staring down. Near him is seen a sledgehammer, implying that the scholar has a hand in the ongoing investigation in the Sledgehammer coup plan. Below the cloud is the train. In the locomotive is the prime minister, who is wearing a sultan's turban. In the wagons is a group of AK Party supporters. The wagons carry a banner that reads “We are all Tayyip.” The rails on which the train and wagons travel end at the top of a cliff, where a huge crowd is waiting for the train. The crowd carries banners that read “Enough is enough,” signaling an end to AK Party rule in Turkey.
Below the caricature is written: “6 million unemployed,” “12 million poor,” “40 million in debt” and “6 million being wiretapped.” The banner was reportedly prepared by the CHP's provincial chairman in Denizli, Ömer Yurtseven. Yurtseven said the caricature was taken from a comic paper.
Özkan Atik, the spokesperson for the Denizli Democracy Platform (DDP), said they did not approve of the CHP banner. He said Gülen has been striving to make the name of Turkey known in all corners of the world for many years but is being subjected to injustice in Turkey. “It is unjust to depict a scholar who is respected in the entire world in a caricature and make him an element of politics. We believe that it would be more appropriate for the CHP to adopt a policy to embrace all of Turkey instead of discriminating against some of its citizens,” he noted.
This is not the first time the CHP has dominated the national agenda with a banner controversy. More recently, an exhibition at an art gallery belonging to the Tepebaşı Municipality in Eskişehir, run by the CHP, featured items mocking mosques and the Muslim headscarf. Titled “Ucube-Ebucu,” the name of the exhibition referred to Prime Minister Erdoğan's description of a statue in the eastern province of Kars as a “monstrosity.” In one of the paintings on exhibition, the minarets of a mosque were replaced by the figures of the statue. The mosque is bedecked with lights strung between the figures, which read “Ucube” (monstrosity). In another painting, half of the face of a headscarf-wearing woman was seen covered up with a bra.
A banner displayed in İstanbul in September of last year criticized the supporters of a government-backed constitutional amendment package and said a “yes” vote on the Sept. 12 referendum on the package would pave the way for Muslim women in Turkey to dress in nun-like attire.
Published on Today's Zaman, 08 June 2011, Wednesday