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Comic book artist facing prison time for insulting Atatürk

ISTANBUL- Daily News with wires | 5/4/2011 12:00:00 AM |

The writer and illustrator of a comic book that portrayed the founder of modern Turkey as being arrested and tortured are facing a sentence between 18 months and 4.5 years in prison.

The writer and illustrator of a comic book that portrayed the founder of modern Turkey as being arrested and tortured are facing a sentence between 18 months and 4.5 years in prison.

A main opposition deputy filed a compliant against a comic book called “Genç Mustafa” (Young Mustafa). Republican People’s Party, or CHP, Manisa deputy Şahin Mengü targeted the book saying the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was offended and reviled.

“Do not think of the book as a documentary,” Alpay said previously. “It is a work of fiction in harmony with historical facts.”

The book, published in November last year, was illustrated by Barış Keşoğlu. The book includes a sergeant in the Ottoman Palace telling a story depicting how Atatürk was taken to the palace and beaten by a commander while his hands were tied, the petition said.

According to the story, Atatürk was kicked while he was lying on the floor and his mouth was bleeding.

“Our great leader Atatürk was humiliated with the comic book scenes including torture that is not based on any historic facts,” the petition said. “Atatürk has been presented to the public and new generations as a person accused of plotting against the sultan, as a prisoner in a weak and helpless situation.

“The author Alpay says in the introduction of the book that there are no nations that did not fight with Atatürk after separation from the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, we are unaware about many aspects of Atatürk’s private life and opinions even though we may refer to him and them many times in our daily life,” said the petition, which concluded that the introduction proves the author’s motivation is to fight Atatürk.

Adalar Court has sent the file to the Kartal regional Court of Serious Crimes with the decision of lack of jurisdiction. The Adalar court also stated that the address of Gaia publishing house could not be found. According to the daily Milliyet, the investigation revealed the publishing house has no official license. The investigation report said the place previously displayed as a publishing house is a triplex apartment on Istanbul’s Büyükada Island where Yalın Alpay, the book’s author stays during the summer.

Portraying Atatürk in documentaries and fictional works invariably raises debate in Turkey, which last experienced such discussion with the release of the movie “Mustafa,” directed by journalist and documentary filmmaker Can Dündar.

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