Turkish ministers note ‘Islamophobia’ while condemning Paris newspaper attack

Turkish ministers note ‘Islamophobia’ while condemning Paris newspaper attack

Turkish ministers note ‘Islamophobia’ while condemning Paris newspaper attack

A general view of police and rescue vehicles at the scene after a shooting at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, Jan. 7, 2015. REUTERS Photo

Two Turkish government ministers have condemned the deadly shooting attack on a French satirical newspaper, while also calling on Europe to tackle the rise of Islamophobia.

“Whatever is its reason or target, we are against all kinds of terror,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told journalists on Jan. 7, hours after hooded gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo in the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades.

Çavuşoğlu said terrorism is the first of two elements that Europe must fight. The second problem, he said, “is racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia, which is on the rise in many regions of Europe.”

He suggested that terrorism and Islamophobia “affect and trigger each other.”

“People’s freedom of belief should also be respected. It shouldn’t be ridiculed or scorned. Islam is a religion of peace and it is not right to associate it with terrorism," Çavuşoğlu said.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik condemned the Paris massacre as “an action against all humanity.”

After noting that “it is remarkable that such a professional attack could be conducted in central Paris,” Çelik said “Muslims were also hurt” regarding the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo that were critical of the Prophet Muhammad.

“But this attack shouldn’t be associated with [the protests]. Muslims condemn this incident. I believe that there is some other motive behind this attack,” he added.