28 November 2023

Supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan react after early results of parliamentary and presidential elections were announced in Istanbul, Türkiye, May 14, 2023. (EPA Photo)

The French hate magazine which antagonized Muslims for publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) has attacked the Turkish President, reports Al-Sabah and Dr Feroz Osman of the Media Review Network. 

The Islamophobic magazine Charlie Hebdo has spewed its vile invective against the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, showing him sprawled naked in a bathtub being electrocuted by an electric bulb. 

Dr Feroz Osman, of Media Review Network (MRN) told Al-Qalam: “Just a few months ago it displayed its repugnant hate when thousands of Turkish perished in the earthquake, stating that there was no need to send in tanks. 

“This rag is infamous for publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) in 2015 deliberately antagonizing Muslims, claiming that it was satire and an expression of free speech. The subtext was that Muslims were backward and intolerant.

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“Yet, criticizing the prophet Jesus (peace be on him), or disputing the holocaust, will guarantee conviction and possible imprisonment in France. 

“Whilst politicians such as Erdogan are not immune from harsh criticism and satire, this tirade has nothing to do with free speech, but is clearly hate speech. 

Meanwhile, Türkiye has slammed Charlie Hebdo for its crude cartoon.

 “Now that this rag of a magazine has gone so crazy, this means Türkiye is on the right track,” Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said Wednesday.

“Evil is like that sometimes; it guides the good,” he wrote on Twitter.

“But don’t worry, CH. “Don’t worry CH. Our nation will give you the best answer, with a louder voice, on May 28,” referring to the upcoming presidential runoff election.

While Erdoğan did not get the majority needed to win the first round of the presidential race, leading to the runoff, he took a clear lead.

Kalın’s remarks came after Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon of Erdoğan in a bathtub on its cover, referencing the 1978 death of popular singer Claude François, nicknamed Cloclo, from an electric shock while bathing.

Regarding Erdoğan, it said: “Like Cloclo, only fate will save us from him.”

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Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also lambasted the magazine.

“One of the most important centers of provocation, insults and blasphemy in the world media, the ugly publication Charlie Hebdo has once again proved to the world how disgusting it is with its latest immoral and inhumane caricature of our president,” he said.

Altun added that it seems that the “great success” of Erdoğan in Sunday’s elections “made those deprived of honor also lose their sleep, spread their sick attitudes and vomit their grudges and hatreds.”

Altun said to the magazine and its ilk: “No matter what you do, you cannot intimidate  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan . You cannot turn us away from our path.”

Ömer Çelik, the spokesperson for Erdoğan’s governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party), also condemned the magazine.

“Charlie Hebdo is a bulletin for hate speech and their hatred targeting our president is a product of their fascist mentality,” he also wrote on Twitter.

“Our nation has once again shown the whole world our commitment to democratic values. As a leader who won dozens of elections, President Erdoğan has proven his respect for democratic willpower at every turn. We leave the fascists of Europe to their own hatred,” Çelik said.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, too, denounced the French weekly as “a disgrace devoid of humanity” and said, “Let’s not forget those who sing the praises of evil will always drown in their own hatred and sedition. What’s exemplary is those who failed to defeat the free will of the Turkish nation helplessly relying on fate.”

For Parliamentary Speaker Mustafa Şentop, Charlie Hebdo “shouldn’t be taken so seriously” since it’s “notorious for its Islamophobia and animosity toward the Muslim world.”

“We should leave this raving mentality to its own illness,” Şentop remarked.

Millions of voters went to the polls on May 14 to elect the country’s president and members of the 600-seat Parliament.

Erdoğan’s People’s Alliance won a majority in Parliament, while the presidential race is headed to a second-round runoff on May 28, though Erdoğan took the lead in round one.

Erdoğan and his closest competitor Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and joint candidate for the six-party opposition Nation Alliance, will face off in round two.

In years past, Charlie Hebdo has attracted controversy and condemnation for printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad (SAW) as well as earlier this year satirizing Türkiye’s Feb. 6 earthquakes, which killed over 50,000 people.

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