Brazilian protest cartoonist Carlos Latuff says Erdoğan is his ‘muse’
Mehmet İren / Radikal ISTANBULBrazilian caricaturist Carlos Latuff, who earned fame during the Arab Spring for his cartoons of Middle Eastern leaders, has confessed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has recently become his “muse” - a fact that he is burning to tell him personally.
“The Middle East is my special area of interest. Turkey draws my attention for being an ally of both the U.S. and Israel. But I would be interested in your country even if that wasn’t the case because your leader is himself a caricature,” Latuff told daily Radikal in an interview, adding that he finds Erdoğan “easy to depict.”
“Some people are hard to draw, but Erdoğan is not. He gives a lot of material. I once even drew him on the back of a bag that they gave me on a plane … In fact, I want to meet him one day to tell him that he is my muse,” Latuff said.
Latuff drew the above cartoon after the death
of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old teenager who
was hit by a police tear gas canister during
the Gezi protests in Istanbul.
“I don’t want to even think what would happen to me if I tried to draw what I am doing now while living in Istanbul. I am not that much curious about Turkish courts or prisons,” he says.
Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart currently faces nearly 10 years of prison for needling Erdoğan with a sarcastic cartoon on the government’s corruption scandal.
One of the biggest themes of Latuff’s cartoons is Palestine, but the Brazilian also criticizes Erdoğan’s Palestinian policies - even though it is seen as being one of the Turkish president’s most uncompromising foreign policy areas.
“Erdoğan is a hypocrite regarding Palestine. He uses it through cheap rhetoric. He made very angry comments concerning the Mavi Marmara raid, but this was just for show. We all saw afterward that he didn’t cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel,” Latuff said.
The Brazilian has drew several cartoons during the Gezi protests, the corruption scandal and the government’s blocking of Twitter and YouTube, issues that resonated internationally after being widely shared by Turkish social media users.