A session titled "Social Criticism and Humor in World Cartoon" scheduled to be held during the International İzmir Humor Festival was canceled after rumors surfaced that Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were going to attend it.
Supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) claimed that several cartoonists were speakers at the session scheduled to be held on Dec. 24, prompting outrage in pro-government circles.
Following criticism, İzmir Municipality, which is the organizer of the event, released a statement that denied the claims.
"The atmosphere of tolerance and peace was destroyed by some chauvinistic and populist politicians' discourse," the municipality, which is run by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), said in a statement.
"We need to stress that no cartoonist from Charlie Hebdo was invited to the festival. The claims surrounding this are completely unreal," it added.
The municipality also said that two cartoonists who are speakers at the festival, Kichka and Plantu, and who are currently slammed by the government were previously hosted and praised by government officials.
While Muslims around the world previously protested Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons of Prophet Mohammad, the magazine is despised by the AKP in Turkey.
In October, top Turkish officials condemned a caricature scorning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, calling it a "disgusting effort" to "spread its cultural racism and hatred."
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.”
Erdoğan at the time said that he didn't see the cartoon.
"I didn't look at the cartoon even to see what they did because I don't give credit to this immoral publication. I don't need to say anything about these dishonorable individuals who insulted my dear prophet," Erdoğan said, referring to Charlie Hebdo's Prophet Mohammad cartoons.