Turkey probes French magazine for publishing offensive content about Erdoğan
“An investigation has been initiated into executives of Charlie Hebdo magazine for insulting the President in accordance with Articles 12, 13 and 299 of the Turkish Penal Code,” said a statement by prosecutors.
The probe comes in the wake of the French weekly publishing deeply offensive cartoons supposedly about Erdoğan on Oct. 27.
Erdoğan on Oct. 28 blasted at the “scoundrels” in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo for mocking him in a front-page cartoon. “I don’t need to say anything to those scoundrels who insult my beloved prophet on such a scale,” Erdoğan said, addressing his lawyers at the parliament and called it a “disgusting attack.”
He said Western countries who are attacking Islam want to “relaunch the Crusades” as a row flared between Turkey and France about cartoons of Muhammad.
The attacks on Muhammad was “an issue of honor for us,” he stated.
Erdoğan has also filed a criminal complaint to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the insulting image of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo against him.
Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak also slammed the magazine for insulting the president.
“I strongly condemn the French magazine that immorally attacked our president under the guise of freedom of expression. What Charlie Hebdo does is not humor, but rudeness! It is the hatred felt towards Islam through our president,” Albayrak said.
Speaking about the freedom of expression, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said, “You do not know what freedom of expression means. Fascists of Europe.”
“Every day, you add a new one to your pages of unlawful and immoral shame that you have accumulated from the past to the present,” he added.
Talking about the investigation on the matter, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, “As an investigation was initiated inside, I will follow both the diplomatic and legal process of this in France and internationally.”
“The Turkish ambassador does not need to be recalled. We are already in constant consultation over the phone,” Çavuşoğlu added.
Turkey’s Communications Director 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 the product of a xenophobic, Islamophobic, and intolerant cultural environment the French leadership seems to want for their country,” Altun said.
While underlining Turkey’s position of being opposed to any acts of violence and 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,” Altun said.
“We call on all sensible European friends to fight back against this kind of primitive cultural racism, intellectual barrenness, and uncivilized discourse,” he added.
Condemning the satirical weekly, Turkey’s Presidential Spokesperson 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.
Ömer Çelik, the spokesperson for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), also took to Twitter to condemn Charlie Hebdo.
Accusing the magazine of turning into a “hate production center,” Çelik said, “We strongly condemn their immoral publications about our president.”
“This conception of publication is not freedom of thought, but hostility to belief. This mentality has reached a disgusting point,” he added.
Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay also denounced the magazine’s provocative and indecent publications.
“You cannot deceive anyone by hiding behind freedom of expression. I condemn the immoral publication of the inexcusable French rag about our president,” Oktay said.