Ankara slams French magazine Charlie Hebdo

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Turkey blasted the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo on Oct. 27 for publishing “loathsome so-called caricatures” purportedly of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“You cannot deceive anyone by hiding behind freedom of opinion! I condemn the immoral publication of the inexcusable French rag about our President,” Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.

“I call on the moral, conscientious international public to speak out against this disgrace.”

Presidential spokesman Fahrettin Altun also weighed in.

“Charlie Hebdo just published a series of so-called cartoons full of despicable images purportedly of our President. We condemn this most disgusting effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred,” he said on Twitter.

“The so-called caricatures are loathsome and they are devoid of any real sense of human decency. It’s clearly the product of a xenophobic, Islamophobic, and intolerant cultural environment the French leadership seems to want for their country,” Altun said.

While underscoring Turkey’s position of being opposed to any violence and acts of terrorism against civilians, he said: “We will not remain silent in the face of disgusting attacks on our culture and religion no matter where it comes from.”

“The racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic incitements will not be able to provoke us into reciprocating in kind. We refuse to bow down to your intimidation and provocations based on your perceived victimhood,” he said.

“We call on all sensible European friends to fight back against this kind of primitive cultural racism, intellectual barrenness, and uncivilized discourse.”

Condemning the satirical weekly, Turkey’s presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said that attacking individual rights is not humor or freedom of speech.

“The aim of these publications, devoid of morality and decency, is to sow seeds of hatred and animosity,” he wrote on Twitter.

Noting that turning freedom of expression into hostility towards religion and belief can only be the product of a sick mentality, Kalın said that everyone with common sense should condemn this abominable publication.

Earlier this month, President Emmanuel Macron accused French Muslims of “separatism” and described Islam as “a religion in crisis all over the world.”

Tensions further escalated after Samuel Paty, a teacher at Bois-d’Aulne College in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, was beheaded on Oct. 16 by Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old of Chechen origin, in retaliation for showing controversial cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad to his students during one of his classes on freedom of expression.

Macron paid tribute to Paty and said France would “not give up our cartoons.”

Insulting cartoons by Charlie Hebdo were also projected on buildings in a few cities.

Earlier this year, the magazine republished cartoons insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad.

The caricatures were first published in 2006 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, sparking a wave of protests.

Several Arab countries as well as Turkey, Iran and Pakistan have censured Macron’s attitude toward Muslims and Islam, with President Erdoğan saying the French leader needs “mental treatment.”

While calls to boycott French products are circulating online in many countries, Erdoğan has urged Turks “to never help French brands or buy them.

Hurriyet Daily News

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