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Cartoon Contest: first in a series of 50 events

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The events organized by our federation in the context of the 50th year of the Turkish migration to Belgium have set off with the Cartoon Contest. Hundreds of professional and amateur cartoonists have participated. The works of 50 participants were selected to be exposed in our exhibition room and to take part in the finale of the contest.
The jury consisted of Rudy Gheysens (European Cartoon Center), Kurt ‘Klier’ Valkeneers (Het Belang van Limburg), Ronald Vanoystaeyen (International Humour in Art), Pierre Kroll (Le Soir), Jacques Sondron (Le journal du mardi), Jan de Graeve (European Cartoon Center), Latif Demirci (Hürriyet), Haslet Soyöz (Milliyet) and İsmail Doğan (Coin d’art). They, finally, declared Luc Vernimmen from Belgium (Antwerp) as the winner of the first prize. The runner-up was also from Belgium, i.e. Nikola Hendricks and the third place was taken by Peev Tsoho from Bulgaria. The first was given a prize of 1000€, the second 750€ and the third 500€.
The Cartoon Contest was the first project among the 50 events, that will take place during the next three years, organized by our Federation. Hundreds of cartoons from more than 20 countries were received. A pre-jury selected the 50 cartoons for the finale and these were exposed in our exhibition room, where the finale and the reception have taken place. General coordinator of the 50th year events, M. Yusuf Kulaksiz, shared his opinion about the cartoonist take off as “starting with cartoons suits best for Tin tin’s country”. In Europe, the cartoon has unfortunately been associated with crisis at a certain period, claimed Kulaksiz, and in Belgium it will make its contribution to peace and harmony now. Project Manager, Elif Alduman, announced that she is pleased with the attention for the contest and that the 50 cartoons will travel through Belgium to be exposed in several cultural centers. Moreover, the cartoons will be sheaved in a book.
The award ceremony organized in our head office had as much as attention as our contest. Minister of the Brussels Capital Region Emir Kır, Brussels MP’s Fouad Ahidar and Mahinur Özdemir, Brussels Ambassador for Turkey İsmail Hakkı Musa’s wife Sefire Tülay Musa, Schaerbeek Alderman Sait Köse, Saint-Josse Alderman Hava Ardıçlık, Schaerbeek town Councilor MR Group Leader Sadık Köksal, Schaerbeek town Councilor Derya Aliç, Actor Erkan Albay and many more prominent guests have participated in the award ceremony.
The opening speech of the award ceremony was given by Seval Kayman, president of the 50th year events organization committee. Kayman stated that the cartoon is an effective and sympathetic way of giving a peaceful message and announced the following, “we hope that migration leaves a positive remembrance this way. Schaerbeek Alderman Sait Köse was next to take the floor and said that it would be best to let the cartoons speak and congratulated our federation by saying he is prepared to support all our activities. Brussels MP Mahinur Özdemir thought it was original to celebrate migration through the art of cartoons and added that “Turkish humor and their habit of making fun of their own is powerful. This strengthens social bonding and integration .” Brussels MP Fouad Ahidar continued by pronouncing that the Muslim community had broken its ties with cartoons after the offending cartoons about the Prophet Mohammed and “Sometimes the line between caricaturizing and ridiculing is so thin that it is difficult to accept the cartoon. You are giving us a message today, you are making us think. İ congratulate you.”. Cinema actor Erkan Albay put forward that the project’s message was one of friendship and added “I think you have reached this purpose”. After Albay, the word was given to Sefire Tülay Musa who stated the following: “the project you have realized is the very first of this kind in our community”. She also expressed that the number of participants forecasted the best. Minister Emir Kır, who was the last to speak, praised the organizers for the diverse participants from all over the world. “I have seen a cartoon from Serbia. This is a proof that you have reached whole Europe with this contest”, he said. Minister Kır emphasized the cartoonist start was a terrific idea and recorded that it was a nice opportunity to represent the rights of the first generation of migrants.
After the speeches, the moment everyone had been waiting for had come and the winners were announced. The second runner-up, Peev Tsoho, was declared by Sefire Tülay Musa. President of the European Cartoon Center, Rudy Gheysens, awarded the first runner-up Nikola Hendricks. The winner of the biggest prize, Luc Vernimmen, was awarded by Minister Emir Kır. Cartoonist İsmail Doğan took the floor after the ceremony and thanked our federation and the participants on behalf of the jury. The evening ended with a reception in the exhibition room.
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