Top Turkish officials condemned a caricature scorning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Oct. 28, calling it a "disgusting effort" to "spread its cultural racism and hatred."
Turkish anger at the caricature added fuel to a row between Turkey and France about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which flared after a teacher who had shown pupils the cartoons in a lesson on freedom of speech was beheaded in France this month.
"We strongly condemn the publication concerning our President in the French magazine which has no respect for any belief, sacredness and values," presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın wrote on Twitter.
Hiçbir inanç, kutsal ve değere karşı saygısı olmayan Fransız dergisinin Cumhurbaşkanımızla ilgili yayınını şiddetle kınıyoruz. Bunlar sadece kendi müptezelliklerini ve ahlaksızlıklarını ortaya koyuyorlar. Kişi haklarına saldırı, mizah ve ifade özgürlüğü değildir.— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) October 27, 2020
"They are just showing their own vulgarity and immorality. An attack on personal rights is not humour and freedom expression," he said.
The cartoon on the cover of Charlie Hebdo, showed Erdoğan sitting in a white T-shirt and underpants, holding a canned drink along with a woman wearing an Islamic hijab.
“Oh, the prophet!” the cartoon Erdoğan exclaims. Charlie Hebdo captioned the caricature: “Erdoğan: In private, he’s very funny.”
Erdogan : dans le privé, il est très drôle !— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) October 27, 2020
? Laïcité : zoom sur le CCIF par @LaureDaussy
? Voyage dans la crackosphère parisienne par @AntonioFischet8 et Foolz
? Reportage à Lunéville et son théâtre par Juin
➡ Disponible demain ! pic.twitter.com/jxXqKrvXbK
Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said "Macron’s anti-Muslim agenda is bearing fruit!"
"We condemn this most disgusting effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred," Altun wrote on Twitter, while also calling the cartoons "despicable."
French President Macron’s anti-Muslim agenda is bearing fruit! 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.— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) October 27, 2020
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also Erdoğan's son-in-law, was among the officials who condemned Charlie Hebdo.
"I strongly condemn the French magazine that attacked our President under the guise of freedom of expression. What Charlie Hebdo did is not humor, but rudeness! It's the hatred toward Islam over our President," Albayrak said.
İfade özgürlüğü kisvesi altında, ahlaksızca Cumhurbaşkanımıza saldıran Fransız dergisini şiddetle kınıyorum. #CharlieHebdo’nun yaptığı bir mizah değil, terbiyesizliktir! Cumhurbaşkanımız üzerinden İslam’a duyulan nefrettir!— Berat Albayrak (@BeratAlbayrak) October 28, 2020
Erdoğan sharply criticised Macron at the weekend, saying the French leader needed a mental health check, prompting France to recall its ambassador from Ankara. On Oct. 26, Erdoğan urged a boycott of French products.
The Prophet Mohammad cartoons, considered blasphemous by Muslims, have been displayed in France in solidarity and Macron has said he would redouble efforts to stop conservative Islamic beliefs subverting French values, angering many Muslims.