CHP leader criticizes president for not having ‘sense of humor’
Rifat Başaran - ANKARA
AA photoThe reason why President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is so merciless against caricaturists and humorists is the fact that he is aware that laughing kills fear, the leader of the main opposition has said, criticizing the president for lacking a sense of humor.
“To laugh kills the fear and he knows this. Each humor magazine on the shelves [of a bookstore] makes it clear to him again and again that there are those who are not afraid of him. This is why he is so merciless against humorists,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) told a recently published humor magazine, the Karakarga (Black Crow).
Kılıçdaroğlu shared his views on the contribution of humor magazines in making a healthy society with its comedic and thought-provoking role, saying: “In this regard, I believe that the main feature of humor should be critical. The fight for power is as old as the history of humanity. And the content of humor should include freedoms, justice and equality. That’s why comedy has become the fear of rulers since its birth.”
Rulers throughout history have sometimes prohibited laughing, jailed humorists, attempted to intimidate them through pressure or defamed them, Kılıçdaroğlu said, citing renowned Italian author and intellectual Umberto Eco as saying in his famous book, “The Name of The Rose,” “Laughing kills the fear and there would be no faith without fear.”
“For me, humor is an act that kills the fear,” the CHP head said.
No humor for government in Turkey
Humor has no place in the eyes of the rulers in Turkey, something that makes the working conditions of humorists much more difficult, the opposition leader said, likening the struggle of oppositional parties against the ruling party to the efforts of humor magazines throughout Turkey’s history.
“To stay as an oppositional block and retain determination to not be surrounded is alone an act worthy of appreciation. Seeing them on the shelves every week gives us hope,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, asking humor magazines not to hesitate in criticizing him and his party as well.
The CHP leader argued that Erdoğan was scared of the power of humorists, leading him to act mercilessly against cartoonists and other humorists criticizing him through different ways.
An enemy of humor
The worst for Erdoğan is the youth that uses social media in the most efficient way to express their sense of humor often in a critical way, Kılıçdaroğlu said, recalling Erdoğan’s anger against them during the Gezi protests in the summer of 2013.
“Humor is an irreplaceable means in the fight against a sham dictator that tries to inject enmity, grievance and hatred into society at every opportunity,” he said. “He might, on the other hand, feel a secret admiration for the intelligence of the Gezi youth, but it’s certain that his inability to challenge them makes him angry. That’s why he files claims after claims at the courts. History will mark him as an enemy of humor.”