Turkey summons French diplomat over Charlie Hebdo Erdogan cartoon

Turkey summons French diplomat over Charlie Hebdo Erdogan cartoon
Turkish authorities have promised to take 'legal and diplomatic' action against the French satirical magazine.
2 min read
29 October, 2020
Turkey's government was outraged by the publication of the cartoons [Getty]
Turkey summoned the French charge d'affaires on Wednesday in protest against a caricature of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by a controversial satirical weekly.

The cartoon published by Charlie Hebdo earlier this week amid an ongoing row between Ankara and Paris has seen Turkey pledge to take "legal and diplomatic action" against the magazine.

Prosecutors in the capital Ankara opened a criminal probe into Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, investigating charges including insults to the president. 

Insulting the president is a criminal offence in Turkey. Tens of thousands have been probed over alleged insults to Erdogan in recent years, with nearly 4,000 convicted last year.

Also on Wednesday, the foreign ministry summoned the charge d'affaires of France's embassy in Ankara.

The diplomat was told that "French authorities are expected to take the necessary political and legal steps on these drawings that go beyond the limits of freedom of expression", state news agency Anadolu reported.

"This despicable attack on personal rights and religious beliefs cannot be considered under the freedom of press and expression," the ministry said.

The cartoon depicts President Erdogan wearing a t-shirt and underwear while lifting a woman's niqab to reveal her bare behind.

Other Turkish officials have slammed the caricature as indicative of "cultural racism", while the president himself described the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as "scoundrels" who had insulted the "beloved" Prophet Mohammed.

Caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed by Charlie Hebdo are at the center of a fiery row between Ankara and Paris over France's treatment of Muslims.

Turkey accuses France and other Western nations of launching a crusade against Muslims and has encouraged a boycott of French goods.

Earlier this month, French school teacher Samuel Paty was brutally murdered after showing a Charlie Hebdo caricature of the Muslim prophet to his students.

Since then, France has vowed to crack down on Islamist extremism.

On Thursday, three people were killed in Nice in what was described as a "terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre-Dame basilica" by the city's mayor.

Four years ago, Nice was the site of another deadly attack when a Tunisian man drove a lorry into a crowd during Bastille Day celebration, killing 86 people.

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