Turkey reacted strongly on Tuesday evening to a caricature of its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to appear on the front page this Wednesday in Charlie Hebdo, accusing the French satirical weekly of “cultural racism”. “We condemn this utterly despicable effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred,” the Turkish President’s senior press adviser, Fahrettin Altun, said on Twitter. He presented this publication as the result of “French President Macron’s anti-Muslim program”.
The cartoon, released online Tuesday night, shows Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a T-shirt and underwear, drinking a beer and lifting the skirt of a woman wearing the veil, revealing her bare buttocks.
Tension mounts between Paris and Ankara
A very lively controversy has been opposing for weeks President Emmanuel Macron and his Turkish counterpart, the latter having gone so far as to question the “mental health” of the French president about his positions on radical Islamism and freedom expression.
Charlie Hebdo had published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 – like other European newspapers – in defense of press freedom after their publication by a Danish daily angered many Muslims. The weekly was the victim in 2015 of a jihadist attack which killed 12 people, including journalists and cartoonists from the newspaper.