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Dear Cartoonist Friends...
In Turkey, for a while now, a live show on "cartoon" has been broadcasting on YouTube under the name "Dissident Illustrators", hosted jointly by Erdoğan Karayel and Hicabi Demirci. On this show, in which guests can also participate, the problems of the cartoon are voiced out and solutions are generated in this respect.
In the recent show it was focused on two main topics:
1) Whether cartoons illustrated by use of Artificial Intelligence are ethical or not?!
2) Cartoons that advance to finals of the competitions are required to be exhibited for a certain period of time without rating. (Hang Method).
In the show broadcast on 28.05.2024, it was discussed that the work of the participant who received the first prize in the 14th Turhan Selçuk Cartoon Competition was detected to be performed by use of "artificial intelligence", however there existed opinions that such a situation would not pose a problem since the inscription "Any kind of technique is allowed" included in the specifications. In his statement, the said participant asserted that he did not perform his work in question by use of artificial intelligence. While uncertainty continued on that issue, at that time; it was revealed by cartoonist Hicabi Demirci that the cartoons sent by the said participant to other competitions were not his own, that he sent them by copying the works of others, and that he even used artificial intelligence in one of the cartoons. Following the above mentioned developments, the "Turhan Selçuk" Competition Selection Committee was obliged to cancel the award.
The question is: Should awards in cartoon competitions be given to works performed by use of "Artificial Intelligence" or not? Does it make sense for someone who has never drawn a cartoon in his/her life to gain "unfair profits" by giving commands to "artificial intelligence"? We do not ask this question with an anti-technological sense. We would like to attract a particular notice on this point. We believe that in the future, the number of works performed by use of artificial intelligence will multiply and we will encounter them frequently in competitions. If we can make a clear decision on this issue and implement it in advance, we can prevent future problems and glorify the art of cartoons.
Another topic of the show was that among cartoons sent to the competitions those advance to the finals should be shared with the public prior to the judgments/rating and thus similar and copied works could be identified and excluded from the competition. This method (Hang Method) is preferred in a number of competitions, although it is rare.
Cartoon art is going through an interesting course. Editorial cartoonists in a considerable number of newspapers and magazines around the world have been dismissed. The capitalist system and global capital can no longer tolerate cartoons and their creators that criticize the system. Cartoonists are led to illustrate cartoons that do not criticize or question so much. Doors are shut on illustrators who act otherwise, and they are alienated from the cartoon world.
Similar problems are experienced not only in cartoon competitions held in Turkey but also in ones held in foreign countries. We do also witness that cartoons are increasingly devalued, selection committees do not take ethical decisions, and they do not refrain from granting awards to the same cartoonists/illustrators almost every year.
Problems regarding the cartoon, for sure, are not limited to the above-mentioned. We would like to present you an abstract of what we question as we produce the show. If you have any questions or solution suggestions regarding this issue, please communicate them to us. We will be very pleased to tell these load during our show.
With our kind love and greetings to the World Cartoonists.
Erdogan Karayel & Hicabi Demirci


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