Shuttle driver stands for democracy in the squares by drawing cartoons
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJul 27, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jul 27, 2016 12:00 am
Working as a shuttle driver, amateur cartoonist Erdoğan Özer gathers with people on streets and parks during the resistance against the Gülenist coup attempt, where people show great interest in his works
Cartoon artist Erdoğan Özer, who also works as a shuttle driver, has portrayed his reaction to the coup attempt by the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) in his cartoon drawings while keeping guard every night in the squares of the country.
Özer told an Anadolu Agency (AA) reporter: "I came to the square at the first call, while everyone was holding their flags; unfortunately, I did not have one. I did not want to stand there empty handed so I found a piece of cardboard and used it as a banner, drawing a cartoon on it. I have been fighting for democracy through my cartoons in the face of those who try to downgrade our brave people who lay down their lives in front of tanks to protect the national will."
Keeping guard at Saraçhane Park in front of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, cartoonist Özer said his gift is God-given and his previous works have been published in the Milli Gazete and Çıngar magazine, according to a statement to AA. He said he also works as a shuttle driver to support his family.
Stressing that he vehemently condemns the FETÖ coup attempt and is deeply sorry for the loss of innocent lives, the cartoonist said, "I have been in the squares since our president urged us to take to the streets. I came to the square immediately as soon as I heard the call. Everyone began taking photos with me." Pointing out that he is glad that people were interested in his cartoons and is happy to be able to convey the message he wanted to send, Özer continued by saying: "I can express my thoughts easily by drawing cartoons. When I went home on the first day, I thought to myself, 'What can I do in these squares?' Then I decided I could protest through my cartoons. Everyone in the squares has their own talents. Some have their belief, some have financial power, some have literature, some have poems and some have a beautiful voice. Since my talent is drawing cartoons and this was the best I could do, I started drawing in the squares."
Noting that he has spent every night in the squares with his wife and daughter in the wake of the coup attempt, he says the time he spent drawing has also improved his style.
Özer added that: "People may not stop and read written posters but drawings immediately attract attention. Unfortunately, there are those downgrading our people's heroism against the attempted coup with cartoons and showing them as weak-minded people. I have been expressing my beliefs through cartoons in the face of those who try to belittle the bravery of the Turkish people."
Özer said that Saraçhane Park is a comfortable environment where he can display his cartoons, noting, "The space is more comfortable here. I am with my wife and daughter in the park, and our daughter sleeps on a blanket in the park at night while I draw until the morning. I am trying not to draw typical things. I started drawing different things in the squares." Indicating that he started drawing cartoons on a black cardboard with a white pen, Özer said the watches in the squares contributed to his art in addition to stopping traitors from penetrating the democracy of his country. "I do not have much time since I was working as a shuttle driver, but when you are awake at night, you create many more drawings," Özer said.
Noting that his cartoons were published three years ago, Özer said: "I do not send my drawings to magazines in the market since we do not share the same opinions. I went to talk to them at times but we do not get along on a mental level. Since there are no humor magazines sharing my opinions, my cartoons are not published anywhere currently."
Stressing that he was glad his cartoons were now publicly available, Özer said: "If there were a place where I could publish my cartoons, I would love to, regardless of the cost. I call some magazines and newspapers, I want to send them my drawings, but unfortunately they are not interested. However, I have not become discouraged by this; on the contrary, I hold onto my work more tightly. I transfer this failed coup attempt to my cartoons and it reaches our people. I am glad people are getting my message and seeing my expressions. Cartoons should have a purpose. This is exactly the right place to realize that purpose."
Özer said he has been giving his cartoons as gifts in memory of the coup attempt. "I do not take money from people; I cannot consider money issues on a day like this," Özer said "Of course, there are times when someone examines a drawing and ask how much it costs and I tell them it is a gift. Some people donate TL 5 or TL 10. They want me to have a cup of tea with that money and I do not want to offend them. Thank God, I have an income," Özer said, also adding that his "Beware of FETÖ" cartoon has drawn a great deal of attention, and he gave it as a present to the people who liked it by drawing it dozens of times.