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Turkey outraged by new Charlie Hebdo cover targeting Erdogan

The Turkish president says he will not look at the drawing so as not to give credit to the magazine that has insulted Islam
An angry Erdogan said that anti-Turkism was on the rise in Europe during his party's parliamentary group meeting on 28 October 2020 (AFP)
By Ragip Soylu in Ankara

French magazine Charlie Hebdo has targeted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a new cover over his criticism against caricatures it published mocking Prophet Muhammad, sparking a fresh wave of tensions in Turkey.

Ankara's chief prosecutor launched an investigation against the proprietors of the magazine as condemnations by senior Turkish politicians poured in.

The Turkish Presidency, in a statement, said that Ankara would take every legal and diplomatic step to hold those who have insulted Erdogan accountable. Insulting the Turkish president is a crime in Turkey and is punishable by up to four years in prison.

The drawing depicted Erdogan in a T-shirt and underpants, drinking what appears to be beer and lifting up the skirt of a woman wearing a hijab to reveal her naked bottom. "Ooh, the prophet!" Erdogan is shown as saying in a bubble, while the title declares "Erdogan: in private, he's very funny."

Erdogan also commented on the cover during a parliamentary address to his own party, saying that he had heard that the magazine that insulted Prophet Muhammad was now targeting him.

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“I have not looked into the caricature because I don’t want to give credit to a magazine with an immoral editorial policy by even looking at it,” he said. “I don’t need to say anything about these scoundrels who insulted our prophet.”

Erdogan added that his sadness and anger were not about the “disgusting” attack against himself but due to the vulgarity towards the prophet.


Earlier this week, Erdogan called on Turks to never buy French goods, as he continued his sharp criticism of his French counterpart over his attitude towards Muslims.

A campaign to boycott French goods was launched in response to French President Emmanuel Macron's comments in which he publicly backed the right to publish satirical caricatures of Prophet Muhammad and accused Islam of being a "religion in crisis".

The president made the remarks while paying tribute to a French school teacher, Samuel Paty, who was beheaded by a Muslim radical on 16 October after he had shown caricatures of the prophet to his students. 

Erdogan, on Wednesday, said that anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish sentiments have been rising in Europe while western leaders turn a blind eye to the issue. He also continued his attacks against Macron, adding that he was kicked out by the Lebanese people after his initiative to reform the political system failed in that country following a disastrous blast at the port of Beirut in August.

Among the flurry of condemnations by the Turks against the Charlie Hebdo cover, one stood out.

“You are bastards. You are sons of bitches,” tweeted Turkey's Deputy Culture Minister Serdar Cam in French on Wednesday.

Erdogan’s remarks, in which he suggested “mental treatment” for the French president due to his views on freedom of speech and Islam, resulted in a mini diplomatic crisis this week.

France withdrew its ambassador to Turkey for “consultations” as French diplomats summoned the Turkish envoy for a dressing down over the remarks. France this week also called the European Union to adopt measures against Ankara.

"France is united and Europe is united. At the next European Council, Europe will have to take decisions that will allow it to strengthen the power balance with Turkey to better defend its interests and European values," French Trade Minister Franck Riester said on Tuesday.

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