ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

After a first glance, a smile appears on the faces of people looking at the cartoons awarded prizes at the Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Competition, now in its 25th year. Then they pause and start thinking, and after examining the cartoon more closely, they either continue smiling or a sad expression takes over.
Without using any written language, cartoons are able to communicate with an audience. Sometimes they tell more than what words could. Touching on the hottest topics on the world's agenda, cartoons prove the pen is mightier than the sword.
The award ceremony held Monday hosted many world-renowned cartoonists, artists and celebrities, as well as members of the jury, at Istanbul's Hilton Convention Center. For the first time in its 25-year history, a woman cartoonist led the cartoon competition jury board.
Marlene Pohle, the famous Argentinean illustrator was proud to lead the jury. �We know that there are more male cartoonists than women. But I am trying to encourage women to be cartoonists. The story as to why women do not become cartoonists is a long one and concerns women and their integration into society,� said Pohle and added that the most important thing in cartooning is being critical.
�We, women, criticize a lot. Of course we have criticisms, so they need to be illustrated,� said the down-to-earth cartoonist, who is also head of the Federation of Cartoonists' Organizations, or FECO.
Yet, times are changing, more women are becoming cartoonists and Pohle is representative of them. �It is mostly the war which we cartoonists criticize,� concluded Pohle.
The Aydın Doğan Foundation's chairman of the Executive Council, Candan Fetvacı, emphasized that cartoons competing in the competition stood for international peace, freedom, love and friendship. �Each year,� she said, �the competition gains respect among its kind and has become one of the most important cartoon competitions in the world.�
Anita Kunz, world-renowned illustrator and cartoonist, was among the guests at the award ceremony. She called the competition �fantastic.� For her, this year was a real pleasure and a chance to see the different work from different countries. Kuntz, who was a judge three years ago, said that it was nice to know they had a common language. �I love the show and I love the ideas behind the cartoons that are being exhibited here,� said the famous cartoonist. Although she admits that if asked, it would be hard to pick the best one among the 25 years of winning cartoons.
�You look at some of them and you get the joke and you laugh. Some of them are very funny but all of them are about serious subjects,� emphasized Kunz who has been to Turkey three times. Noting that the winners have a clear idea most of the time and work on a few different levels, Kunz said it was hard to explain how they picked the winning cartoons.
�You have to have an emotional response to it. The funny thing is that all the jury members come to it with their own experiences, so between all of us it works out. Because the best ones are always the best, we all agree on those,� said the Canadian cartoonist and added, �We never fight about those decisions.�
Ahmet Öztürklevent, who came first in the competition, received his award along with Albanian Agim Sulaj, who came second, and Austrian Gerhard Gepp, who came third, as well as international cartoonists who received their awards. Öztürklevent received $8,000, a plaque from the ministry of tourism and culture, a Daily Hürriyet Golden plaque and a sculpture. The second-place winner received $5,000, while Gepp in third received $3,500.