• Hithesh Jain

France – Turkey tensions escalate with new Charlie Hebdo caricature

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

Shilpa Harikumar

3rd November 2020

International- With France-Turkey relations hanging by a thread — the Wednesday edition of French magazine Charlie Hebdohas sparked a further dispute between the two countries. The problematic caricature of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was published following his call forth the boycott of French products.

The caricature has gathered negative reactions from the entire Muslim community, as protests have broken out in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq. The stabbing of a French consulate in Saudi Arabia on Thursday is reported to be in revolt against the cartoon. Commenting on the magazine, Erdogan said – “My sadness and anger is not because of this disgusting attack against me, but because the very same media is the source of impudence against our beloved prophet whom we hold so dear”. His spokesman proceeded to suggest that these "despicable images" were the latest example of Macron's ‘anti-Muslim agenda’.

French President Emmanuel Macaron’s description of Islam as “a religion in crisis” – along with the legislation introduced to strengthen French secularism against ‘Islamist separatism’ – triggered initial anger from Erdogan and other Muslim countries. After the murder of French Teacher Samuel Paty over Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Prophet Muhammed—Macron declared that he will not curb the country’s freedom of expression. He showed his support towards an investigation into extremist French Muslims with possible ties to terrorist groups. This led to Erdogan calling for the boycott of French products in Turkey with other Muslim countries following suit. After Macron denounced Erdogan’s ‘unacceptable’ comments directed at him, France withdrew its ambassador to Ankara for consultations. The spat between the two presidents has seen European leaders rally behind Macron and the Muslim world in support of Erdogan– straining diplomatic relations in multiple countries around the world.

The Turkish president who has reportedly not seen the images yet, has declared he will take necessary legal, diplomatic actions against ‘loathsome Charlie Hebdo publication’. According to the inquiry by the state prosecutor’s office, the Turkish law rewards prison sentence for defamation of the president.

(Sources- NBC News, The Indian Express)

Edited by- Hithesh Jain

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