Turkish leaders condemn Charlie Hebdo cartoon of Erdogan

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Turkish leaders condemn Charlie Hebdo cartoon of Erdogan

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish officials on Wednesday railed against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo over its cover-page cartoon mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and accused the publication of sowing "the seeds of hatred and animosity".

The cartoon could further heighten tensions between Turkey and France over French President Emmanuel Macron's firm stance against Islamism following the beheading of a teacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad for a class lesson on free speech.

Leaders from around the Muslim world added their criticism of what they see as attacks on Islam in the West, while France vowed not to back away from defending freedom of expression.

The cartoons that led to the teacher's death were the same drawings that were at the centre of a deadly 2015 extremist attack on Charlie Hebdo's staff.

The Prophet Muhammad cartoons upset many in the Muslim world. But it was Erdogan who led the charge against France and questioned Macron's mental state. France then recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations, a first in French-Turkish diplomatic relations.

"We strongly condemn the publication concerning our president of the French magazine, which has no respect to faith, the sacred and values," Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, wrote on Twitter.

The Ankara Chief Prosecutor's office launched an investigation into Charlie Hebdo managers over the cartoon, Tukey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in prison.

Erdogan himself said he had not looked at the drawing and had nothing to say about the "dishonourable" publication.

"My sadness and anger does not stem from the disgusting attack on my person but from the fact that the same (publication) is the source of the impertinent attack on my dear Prophet," Erdogan told his ruling party's legislators in parliament.

He went on to criticise France and other Europe nations' colonial past saying: "You are murderers!"

Tensions between France and Turkey have mounted in recent months over Turkish actions in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus Mountains region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The cartoon depicted Erdogan in his underwear holding a drink and lifting the skirt of a woman wearing an Islamic dress.

"I condemn this incorrigible French rag's immoral publication concerning our president," Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay wrote on Twitter.

Macron's stance sparked anti-France protests in Turkey and in other Muslim countries as well as calls for the boycott of French goods.


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