Turkey’s ‘Standing Man’ wins German rights award

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Turkey’s “Standing Man,” a performance artist who became an icon of anti-government protests this year, will receive a major German human rights award next week, the jury said Monday.

Erdem Gunduz, a 34-year-old dancer and choreographer, will be honored for his “courageous commitment to freedom of expression and human rights” with the M100 Media Award, awarded annually by a jury of journalists.

He became known around the world by remaining motionless for hours, staring, on Istanbul’s Taksim Square during protests that challenged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in June and July.

“With his silent protest, he became the icon of peaceful resistance and has been emulated around the world,” said the jury which will award the prize on September 5 at Potsdam, just outside Berlin.

“His weapon is creativity, his trademarks are courage and perseverance. That is what you need to promote free speech and human rights,” said Potsdam mayor and M100 chair Jann Jakobs.

Last year European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi won the award.

Previous recipients were Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew controversial pictures of the Prophet Mohammad, and former French foreign minister and founder of Doctors without Borders Bernard Kouchner.

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