One of Turkey’s top comedy writers, Gani Müjde, has expressed his support for standup comedian Cem Yılmaz who’s been accused of supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after his comments on the imprisonment of two prominent political figures.
Cem Yılmaz was asked on a TV show on 3 November, what he thought of the situation regarding former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş and human rights activist Osman Kavala, both imprisoned despite rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) calling for their immediate release.
“Regarding universal standards, I think such things shouldn’t take place in any country. What else am I supposed to think?” Yılmaz had simply said, and added.
“Because, to put it simply, we are unable to understand from the houses we are living in, this whole process of presenting someone as if he has been charged with a mysterious crime; someone who had been living in his house, whom everyone had an idea about who he was and what he was doing.”
After these simple remarks Yılmaz was threatened by a senior figure of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an extreme right wing ultra nationalist partner of the Ankara administration.
Press advisor of the party’s chair Devlet Bahçeli, wrote in his column: “Your role in this campaign of support for treachery will never be forgotten and there will be noone to save you.”
In a rare and brave gesture of solidarity in such a feverish and dangerous political atmosphere engulfing Turkish society at the moment, comedy writer Gani Müjde expressed his support for Yılmaz on another television show.
“Why are they so interested in what a comedian says?” he said. “Besides, Cem didn’t say anything so remarkable. He just said he didn’t understand why these people had been imprisoned. The Turkish Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights do not understand either. I think millions of people who have never voted for HDP do not understand it either. Millions of people! They are the majority. They are 60-70 percent of the voters.”
Müjde strongly criticised the way many people including Cem Yılmaz were being accused of supporting the PKK.
“What is it that Cem said? It is only a declaration of what is already evident. There is no insult, nothing. He does not take any side either. They called Cem a PKK supporter. What is the relevance? Why do they present him like a PKK supporter? But of course, since everyone’s so casually presented as a PKK supporter (…) If we start presenting so many people as PKK supporters… I mean, if 6 million voters are PKK supporters, then the PKK is a very powerful organisation.”