- Twitch streamer Hasan Piker told Insider he got into politics growing up in Turkey.
- In particular, he cited an incident in 2005 when Recep Tayyip Erdogan sued a cartoonist.
- He said he was “shocked” to see how far this “act of suppressing freedom” went.
Hasan Piker became interested in politics after seeing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sue a cartoonist for drawing him like an animal, the
Left-wing political streamer and commentator told Insider in a recent interview.
“I’m shocked at how far it has gone, this act of suppressing freedom,” said Piker, 30, who currently resides in Los Angeles but grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, after being born in the New York. Jersey.
Piker has 1.5 million subscribers on the live streaming platform Twitch, where he goes through @HasanAbi and is known for his improvised speaking style and internet-centric humor.
Piker was a teenager in 2004 when Erdogan, then the country’s prime minister, took legal action against Musa Kart, a cartoonist who drew the Turkish politician like a cat with a huge head and a flurry of string.
Erdogan sued Kart, who was originally ordered by a court in Ankara, the country’s capital, to pay a fine of $ 3,500 for “publicly humiliating the prime minister,” BBC News reported in 2005.
Read more: Hasan Piker Just Wants To Have Fun And ‘Talk About Crap’: How The Politician Became An Internet Icon
Piker said that “political cartoons are really important” in Turkey and play a more important cultural role than in the United States and that politics is everywhere, something “everyone is talking about”.
Expression Interrupted, a website that tracks the incarceration of journalists and academics in Turkey, reported that the case against Kart, who worked as a cartoonist for the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet Daily, was subsequently quashed and that the fine had been overturned, so Kart did not have to pay the fine.
Erdogan’s government has been called “autocratic” and the leader has grown increasingly hostile to dissenting views over the years, The New York Times reported.
In the 2021 World Press Freedom Index, which calculates a country’s level of safety for journalists based on a range of factors, including censorship and violence against journalists, Turkey ranks 153rd out of 180 countries.
Piker said witnessing the trial was profound to his development at the time.
In recent years, Piker has gone from host of the left-wing talk show “The Young Turks” to a fanatic fan base on the Internet.
He helped organize a broadcast of the game “Among Us” with U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ilhan Omar, which became the third most-watched Twitch broadcast of all time, CNET reported.
Read more stories from Insider’s digital culture office.