Turkish daily prints Charlie Hebdo articles and cartoons

AFP , Wednesday 14 Jan 2015

File Photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan February 18, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

A leading daily in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey on Wednesday risked a backlash by printing excerpts from the first edition of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo since Islamist gunmen massacred 12 people in an attack on its offices.

The daily Cumhuriyet, which strongly opposes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, printed a four-page pull-out containing cartoons and articles translated into Turkish from the historic Charlie Hebdo issue.

Along with a Charlie Hebdo editorial about how it would not give into the attacks, the excerpts in Cumhuriyet included cartoons satirising Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram and Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

The pull-out edition did not include the controversial front cover of the new Charlie Hebdo, which shows a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

However a smaller version of that cartoon, where the prophet sheds a tear and holds a sign saying a sign that says "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie"), was included on page five of the newspaper itself in a column by Cumhuriyet commentator Hikmet Cetinkaya.

Many Muslims consider images of the Prophet, not least ones satirising him, to be blasphemous under Islam and Turkey's Islamic-rooted leaders in the past angrily denounced such cartoons.

Charlie Hebdo had angered Muslims in the past by printing cartoons lampooning the Prophet and Islam.

An AFP correspondent in Ankara said that the main office of Cumhuriyet was being guarded by dozens of police who had installed water cannon trucks in case of violent protest against the printing of the pull-out.

Sources at Cumhuriyet said there had been a long debate about printing the edition, which ended in the printing of a shorter pull-out version rather than the full issue of the French weekly.

Cumhuriyet, founded in 1924 at the behest of the founder of modern Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, considers itself to be a staunch upholder of the secular values he championed.

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