October 29th 2020
A new satirical cartoon from the French weekly Charlie Hebdo has sparked fury in Turkey and is worsening the diplomatic spat between Turkey and France after Paris already recalled its ambassador when President Erdogan questioned Macron's mental health while accusing the French president of attacking Islam over remarks made in the wake of the horrific beheading of a middle school teacher Samuel Paty on October 16.
The latest edition of the newspaper, first released online Tuesday night, features a front page cartoon mocking President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - he's in his underpants, holding a can of beer and gazing up a skirt of a hijab wearing woman.
"Ooh, the prophet!" the character says in the French speech bubble, with the title reading: "Erdogan: in private, he's very funny".
It has set off outrage among the Turkish public especially after Erdogan shot back Wednesday saying the "worthless" cartoon had nothing to do with free speech but is in reality an attack on Islam. He accused European countries of wanting to "relaunch the Crusades". There's also been growing demonstrations in other parts of the Middle East over charges of France's "anti-Islamic" stance.
Erdogan's top press aide, Fahrettin Altun, additionally said in a tweet: "We condemn this most disgusting effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred."
"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," he added.
On Monday Erdogan called for a Turkish boycott of all French goods over what he called France's 'anti-Islamic' stance towards Muslims and the Turkish people. Erdogan had said during a televised speech in Ankara: "As it has been said in France, 'don't buy Turkish-labelled goods', I call on my people here. Never give credit to French-labelled goods, don't buy them."
Meanwhile Erdogan is threatening to sue every European leader that posts or defends the cartoons, as is happening with a Dutch politician:
Macron has emphasized a freedom of speech message, vowing that the French "not give up our cartoons" - in reference to both the latest row but also the events and controversy surrounding the January 7, 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre, which left 12 people dead after the newspaper published a series of cartoons perceived as mocking the founder of Islam Muhammad.
According to Reuters, Turkey has launched an investigation into the French newspaper, saying it will take "all necessary legal, diplomatic steps against Charlie Hebdo caricature on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan."