Dutch Newspaper Ups the Ante on Free Speech; Depicts Turkey’s Erdogan as an Ape with “Long Arms” on Europe


A Dutch newspaper believes firmly in free speech and has published a front page story with a editorial cartoon depicting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, depicted as an ape with long arms over European free speech.

The newspaper— The most read in the Netherlands— published the cartoon in response to the arrest of the Dutch journalist Ebru Umar in Turkey for “insulting Erdogan” in a series of tweets she sent.

The cartoon, according to The Washington Post, published by the populist daily De Telegraaf, has an ape with Erdogan’s face squashing a woman who appears to be Ebru Umar, the Dutch writer with a Turkish background who was arrested in Turkey on Sunday. In the cartoon, the Turkish president is standing on a rock labeled “Apenrots” — a Dutch term meaning “monkey rocks” that is used to refer to the Dutch Foreign Ministry but can also refer to a place where one dominant individual holds power.

The latest salvo in Europe’s attack on Erdogan’s strong hand against free speech in his country— as well as abroad— follows a controversial move by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow a German comedian to be prosecuted for a comedic skit against Erdogan.

Erdogan’s autocratic tendencies have drawn criticism from media and governments around the world, including causing a chill in relations with U.S. President Barack Obama, who expressed public concerns about Turkey’s treatment of journalists when Erdogan visited Washington DC.



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