Friday, June 23, 2006
Satire could mean jail
A Brit artist is facing up to three years’ jail in Turkey for exhibiting a collage that depicts its Prime Minister as a dog being awarded a rosette by President Bush in a pet show.
Police in Istanbul seized Michael Dickinson’s Best in Show — in which he superimposed the head of Recep Tayyip Erdogan on to a dog’s body — from his exhibition in the city.
He has been told that he is likely to be charged with “insulting the dignity of the Prime Minister”. The show’s organiser, Erkan Kara, will go on trial on September 12 on the same charge.
Mr Dickinson, 56, said: “It’s such an Alice in Wonderland feeling. The law is so absurd . . . This law exists in Turkey about insulting ‘Turkishness’ or the State. You’re not allowed to state your opinion.”
The case could greatly embarrass Turkey and Britain, for it raises questions about Turkey’s human rights record as it seeks EU membership, with Tony Blair’s backing.