Saturday 11/28/20
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Erdogan to feature on cover of next Charlie Hebdo issue

Erdogan has been at the forefront of a wave of anger from Muslim majority countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attends a press conference in Berlin. Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attends a press conference in Berlin. Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will grace the cover of the next edition of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, the publication tweeted on Tuesday, likely escalating a war of words between Erdogan and Western promoters of freedom of speech.

The Tuesday tweet showed a cover featuring a caricature of Erdogan sitting in a chair and lifting the dress of a woman to reveal her backside and is titled "Erdogan - he's a lot of fun in private."

The next Charlie Hebdo is set for release on Wednesday.

Erdogan has been at the forefront of a wave of anger from Muslim majority countries after Charlie Hebdo opted to rerelease caricatures of the Islamic prophet Mohammed that had enraged Muslims a decade ago.

A taboo in Islam

Depictions of the prophet are considered taboo and blasphemous in Islam and the images in Charlie Hebdo are considered to be especially provocative. Some link Islam to terrorism.

Erdogan has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of allowing the spread of Islamophobia for not banning the images.

Macron has responded by loudly defending the right to freedom of expression, most recently at the funeral of Samuel Paty, a teacher who was beheaded in France shortly after he shared some of the Charlie Hebdo images during a lesson on free speech.

Turkey condemns Charlie Hebdo

On Wednesday, Turkey condemned Charlie Hebdo for "cultural racism" over the cover of the French satirical magazine's edition mocking President Erdogan.

"French President [Emmanuel] Macron's anti-Muslim agenda is bearing fruit!" said Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan's communications director, decribing the caricatures as "loathsome."

"It's clearly the product of a xenophobic, Islamophobic, and intolerant cultural environment the French leadership seems to want for their country," Altun said.

Turkey and France are already embroiled in a furious row, with Erdogan disparaging Macron and questioning his mental health, after the French president outlined measures which he said would protect his country's secular values against radical Islam.

"Irresponsible"

"These kinds of irresponsible and senseless attacks on our culture will only breed racism and discrimination," Altun said, calling on "all sensible European friends" to combat what he called "intellectual barrenness, and uncivilized discourse."

Erdogan this week appealed to Turks to boycott French brands, following similar actions in Muslim-majority countries in response to Macron's support for controversial caricatures depicting the prophet Mohammed, which originally appeared in Charlie Hebdo.

France "will not give up our cartoons," Macron said after the teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in Paris this month.

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