At 8 years old, when he scribbled superheroes of his invention, the young Ersin could not imagine that he would find himself one day, an adult, facing a court, tried for a caricature that displeased Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey. Author of the noticed Ordinary Tales of a Resigned Society (Fluide glacial, 2018), a dark dystopia on Turkish society, Ersin Karabulut retraces his journey today. His Istanbul Worried Diary (translated from Turkish by Didier Pasamonik, volume I, Dargaud, 152 pages, 23 euros, digital 14 euros. In bookstores August 19) is an autobiography in which the designer, born in 1981, frees himself from his social and family shackles while, at the same time, Turkey sinks into the grayness of conservatism.
The album highlights all the ambiguity of the regime’s critical status. Did Ersin Karabulut become one out of conviction? Out of opportunism? To challenge his parents? To please the girls? Or by pure coincidence, because the magazine which employs it launches a sheet of political satire? In full repressive spiral, this career causes him in any case a few sleepless nights. The angst is palpable on every page.
Even mocking Erdogan lost interest
“It is impossible to know with certainty on the basis of what one can offend a susceptibility, notes Ersin Karabulut, interviewed by The world. I don’t know anyone who got hit for a drawing. But on social networks, we are criticized, insulted… ” The threat is always present, but never precise. When Islamists go, at nightfall, in front of his parents’ home, the cartoonist is terrified, but hardly enlightened: “I never knew the reasons for this visit. I’m not even sure it had anything to do with my drawings. »
Is satire definitively relegated to the margins of Turkish public space? “People are less receptive to it, he regrets. They think it has lost its function as a critic and a force for change. Humor is omnipresent on the Internet and social networks, but it only serves to obtain likes. » Even mocking Erdogan lost interest: “Five years ago, readers were happy to see him caricatured… But now they don’t want to see him at all. » In this Turkey damaged by hatred, violence and stupidity, the cartoonist wonders if what he is doing is in line with his childhood dreams. He wants to believe, however, that the young 8-year-old Ersin, who watches him over the pages of his Worried Diarywould be proud of what he has become.
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