Artist Ali Zülfikar’s artwork entitled “Made in Turkey” was censored by Linz Mayor Hans Georg Faust.
In his work, Zülfikar critically depicted the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an exhibition he opened in Linz, Austria, two years ago.
After Turkey’s demand to ban the exhibition, the artist first faced censorship but then the exhibition was allowed by the decision of the municipality of Linz after public outrage.
‘It is against freedom of thought’
According to Yeni Özgür Politika, Ali Zülfikar recently filed a lawsuit against the censor decision on the grounds that such a censor is “an attack on the freedom of art and expression”.
“A politician’s intervention towards the basic foundations of the constitution offended society’s conscience and the honor of the artist,” he said. “They told me you will either reverse this work or leave this place. The censorship decision belongs to Linz Mayor Faust, but it is also binding for the Turkish state authorities as well. This decision was not only a decision given against me, but has also threatened all lovers of art, who wanted to come to the exhibition and see the uncensored work.”
Artist Ali Zülfikar noted that cencorship is unacceptable and it deeply injures the artist’s soul. “That is why artists should not hesitate to make use their own constitutional rights. We should produce our artworks freely without fear. If politicans keep intervening against the artists, the freedom of art becomes questionable. That’s why I filed this lawsuit. I hope this decision will be a turning point for the Constitution and the freedom of art,” he said.
“First, my work was censored, secondly, the people who took part in the opening of the exhibition were threatened by the municipality, and third was that the public announcement of the exhibition was blocked. Journalists also were prevented from doing their work. I will not give up on this case. Mayor Dr. Faust should publicly apologise for censorship.”