January 22, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8513

Turkish Criticism Of U.S. Policy And Foreign Relations – In Cartoons

January 22, 2020
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 8513

Many Turkish cartoonists in recent years have drawn U.S. President Donald Trump in order to comment on U.S. policy and world events, including the U.S.'s relations with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, as well as its policies on Syria and immigration. More specific issues the cartoons illustrate include: the killing of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, tension between Turkey and the U.S. over Turkey's purchase from Russia of the S-400 missile defense system and the arrest in Turkey of American pastor Andrew Brunson, the U.S. arming of Kurdish fighters in Syria, the U.S.'s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, the movement of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and the killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. These cartoons show President Trump as, among other things an orthodox Jew and a crusader.

The following report will review some of these cartoons.

General Cartoons Of Trump – Murderer With Blood On His Hands, Pushing The Globe Into Fire, And Cowboy

A cartoon by Ergin Asyalı shows trump holding a bloody sword, walking away from the Middle East and a pile of bloody corpses, saying: "I brought democracy and freedom!"

A cartoon by Ergin Asyalı shows trump rolling the world into the fire of the "Middle East," laughing and saying: "And Nero burned Rome!"

A cartoon by İbrahim Özdabak dated October 18, 2019, shows President Trump working at his desk and wearing a jester's cap.[1]

A cartoon by Murat Sayın shows Trump drawing a stick figure of a cowboy with a hat, badge, and revolver on White House stationary with his signature at the bottom.

U.S.-Turkey Relations

A cartoon by a cartoonist who wrote for the comedy magazine Misvak for 19 years, known only as Miralay, shows a man saying to Trump: "Mr. President, the Turks have appointed a governor to Tel Rifaat [in Syria]." Trump answers: "If they open a BIM, we are in trouble. They'll never leave." BIM is a popular supermarket chain in Turkey known for its low prices.

A cartoon by Gökcan Aydoğan reads: "Summary of the Erdoğan-Trump meeting." A large missile marked "S-400 crisis" has crashed through the ceiling in the cartoon, and Trump says: "We had a great meeting with President Erdoğan!"

A cartoon by Miralay shows a Chinese leader saying: "Dude, listen... Don't mess with the Turks too much. We didn't build the Great Wall as a decoration."

In a cartoon by Can Baytak, Trump says on television: "Big sanctions are coming to Turkey!" A man sitting on the couch thinks: "He is targeting civilians again!"

U.S.'s Syria Policy

The April 11, 2018 issue of the Turkish comic weekly Le Man shows Trump squatting over Syria and saying: "In 24-48 hours I am going to take a big shit." Around that time Trump said that he would be making "some major decisions" on Syria in the next 24-48 hours.

The cover of the October 30, 2019 issue of Le Man shows Trump sitting in a director's chair saying: "Action! Baghdadi, in this scene you will die. Cut!"

A cartoon by Ergin Asyalı shows former Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım saying to Trump: "Look, like we agreed, no military aid to the YPG, Mr. Trump!" Carrying a box of weapons to a fighter marked as "YPG-PKK," Trump answers: "Shame on you, this is humanitarian aid."

Text at the top of a cartoon by Kasım Özkan reads: "Trump said: 'Brunson's being set free has brought us closer to Turkey." In the cartoon, Trump says: "We are digging the trenches five kilometers closer."

In a cartoon by Sefer Selim, Trump says: "I gave the order to attack Syria, I call on civilized countries to join the U.S..." A man standing behind him says: "I am not sure about sarin gas, but the gas of this blonde will kill more civilians." The word for "blonde" resembles the word "sarin" in Turkish, forming a pun.

U.S. Immigration Policy

A cover of the comedy magazine Uykusuz shows Trump laying bricks and saying: "We are building a wall on the border with Turkey. And Turkey's going to pay for it."

The February 2, 2017 issue of Uykusuz reads: "Trump prohibited refugees from entering the U.S." and shows the Statue of Liberty dressed in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

U.S. Relations With Saudi Arabia

A cartoon by Murat Sayın shows Trump using his tie as a sword as he stands beside Arabs wielding swords.

A cartoon by Sefer Turgut reads: "Trump, who says 'Do not let Muslims into the country,' signed agreements worth billions on his first foreign trip, which he made to Saudi Arabia." Trump, running with a big sack of money over his shoulder, says in the cartoon: "I said Muslims cannot enter. I did not say their money cannot enter."

A cartoon by Kasım Özkan reads: "Trump did not hear that the Saudi journalist was kidnapped!" Trump says: "Why would I have heard about something that has nothing to do with billions of dollars, bribes, and blackmail?"

U.S. Relations With Israel, Trump As Crusader And Orthodox Jew

A cartoon by Murat Sayın shows Trump as an orthodox Jew with sidelocks standing up like horns.[2]

A cartoon by Murat Sayın shows Trump as a crusader driving a sword into a mound of bones. A sign on the sword reads: "U.S. Embarrassy," apparently a combination of the words "embassy" and "embarrassment."

A cartoon by İbrahim Özdabak shows Uncle Sam painting a picture of the redrawing of the map of the Middle East according to the "Greater Middle East Project" and saying: "Here we'll draw the Jewish nation state, which stokes racism and disc


[1] For more cartoons by İbrahim Özdabak, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7480 Turkish Newspaper Prints Antisemitic Cartoons Depicting Jews As Vampires, Vultures, And Butchers, May 21, 2018.

[2], accessed January 15, 2020.

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