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Turkey blasts Charlie Hebdo cartoon depicting Erdogan electrocution in bathtub

Officials condemn French magazine for saying only death would 'get rid' of the president following election results
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a polling station to vote in the presidential and parliamentary elections, in Istanbul, on 14 May 2023 (AFP)

Senior Turkish officials have criticised French magazine Charlie Hebdo for a cover cartoon depicting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following elections over the weekend. 

The drawing shows Erdogan in a bathtub, in reference to French singer Claude Francois (Cloclo), who was electrocuted to death while in the bath in 1978. "Like Cloclo, only fate will save us from him," the cover states. 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “Shameless Charlie Hebdo has yet to possess an ounce of humanity [and] continues to insult the Turkish people.”

Meanwhile, Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan's communications director, described the publication as "disgusting".  

“One of the biggest centres of provocation, insults and blasphemy in world media, the ugly publication Charlie Hebdo, has again proved how disgusting it is with its latest inhumane caricature of our president,” he tweeted. 

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“No matter what you do, you cannot intimidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan. You cannot turn us away from our path."

Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin labelled the magazine a "rag" and "evil". 

"Don't worry CH. Our nation will give you the best answer, with a louder voice, on May 28,” he added, referencing the upcoming presidential runoff election.

Erdogan received 49.5 percent of the votes in Sunday's presidential election, just short of an outright victory, while his main competitor, Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), got 44.9 percent.  

In February, Charlie Hebdo came in for criticism for publishing cartoons that mocked the devastating earthquake which hit Turkey and Syria. 

A cartoon showed a damaged building, a toppled car and a heap of rubble with the caption: "No need to send tanks."

Turkish political commentators pointed out at the time that Turks were quick to support freedom of speech marches in January 2015, after gunmen claiming to represent al-Qaeda forced their way into Charlie Hebdo's offices and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 11 others. 

The magazine has previously published offensive cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, and Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian toddler who drowned off Turkey’s coast in 2015. 

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