Turkey

Turkey to take up Erdogan cartoon issue internationally

Turkey to follow diplomatic and legal process regarding French magazine Charlie Hebdo, says foreign minister

Adem Balta   | 28.10.2020
Turkey to take up Erdogan cartoon issue internationally

ANKARA

Turkey will take legal action internationally against French magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing insulting cartoons of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country's foreign minister said Wednesday.

“We will follow the diplomatic and legal process of this both in France and internationally as well, as an investigation is initiated already [in Turkey],” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters ahead of the Justice and Development (AK) Party's parliamentary group meeting in Ankara.

Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan filed a criminal complaint against the weekly magazine for insulting him.

When asked if Turkey would recall its ambassador to Paris, as a reaction to French action, Cavusoglu ruled out such a move. “We are in constant consultation over the phone anyway” and there was no need for recalling the ambassador, he said.

On Saturday, France recalled its ambassador in Turkey for consultations, said an Elysee Palace statement.

The statement said Erdogan’s comments about his French counterpart were deemed “unacceptable.”

The move came after Erdogan responded to French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks in which the latter had accused Muslims of "separatism" and described Islam as "a religion in crisis all over the world."

The Turkish president said: “What is Macron’s problem with Islam? What is his problem with Muslims? He needs mental checks. What else can we say to a president who does not understand freedom of belief and behaves in this way with millions of members from different faiths living in his own country?”

Cavusoglu also took to Twitter to criticize the current French administration with a statement from former French President Jacques Chirac on the respect for freedom of the press and religious belief regarding cartoons of Prophet Muhammed.

“Once upon a time France,” read the post in Turkish, French and English, along with a statement quoting former French President Chirac.

“Regarding the cartoons and the reactions they created within the Muslim world; I remind you that while freedom of expression is one of the foundations of the Republic, it is also based on the values of tolerance and respect of all beliefs.

“Anything that could hurt the beliefs of others, and especially their religious beliefs, should be avoided. Freedom of expression should be exercised in a spirit of responsibility. I condemn all sorts of obvious provocations that could dangerously fuel passions,” the statement quoted Chirac.

When asked about attacks in Idlib, Syria, Cavusoglu said that he spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov while Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Idlib as well as Nagorno-Karabakh over the phone.

Several people were reportedly killed in a Russian airstrike on the Al-Sham Legion of the Syrian National Army in Idlib province on Monday, according to opposition sources.

*Writing by Handan Kazanci

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