Turkey strongly condemned on Wednesday the re-publication of the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo of caricatures representing the Prophet Muhammad, marking the start of the trial of the jihadist associates who killed 12 members of the editorial board of the satirical weekly in January 2015.
“We strongly condemn the decision of Charlie Hebdo to re-publish the caricatures insulting to our religion and our Prophet,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also attacked the French President, Emmanuel Macron, for his defense of the “freedom of blasphemy” in France on Tuesday night, commenting on the publication of the cartoons, saying that it is “unacceptable” to justify publishing controversial cartoons in the name of freedom of expression.
The Turkish statement considered that the re-publication of the cartoons would lead to “encouraging feelings of hatred against Islam and foreigners,” and that it “would serve the racists”.
These twelve cartoons, first published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005, and later by Charlie Hebdo in 2006, show the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb instead of a turban or a knife and surrounded by two veiled women.
Twelve people, including some of France’s most famous cartoonists, were killed on 7 January 2015, when the Said and Sherif Kouachi brothers launched an armed attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
The Turkish reaction comes at a time of escalating tensions between Ankara and Paris due to Turkey’s gas exploration operations in waters that Greece asserts over its sovereignty in the eastern Mediterranean.
France raised the ire of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan because of its support for Greece in this crisis.