Charlie Hebdo, whose cartoons sparked terror attacks in France, published a cutting caricature of Turkish President Erdogan amid his feud with Macron

Bill Bostock
·3 min read
  • The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday published a caricature of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid his tensions with French President Emmanuel Macron.

  • The cartoon depicts Erdogan sitting in his underwear, drinking a beer, and lifting up a woman's hijab to expose her bare backside. Most Muslims consider drinking alcohol haram, or forbidden.

  • Erdogan has vocally condemned Macron's recent attacks on Islam, saying on Saturday the French president needed "mental" treatment.

  • On October 2, Macron announced a law that would monitor and regulate France's Islamic communities. Support for the law strengthened after the October 16 killing of a teacher who had shown his class cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

  • Charlie Hebdo's inflammatory cartoons have prompted several terrorist attacks in recent years.

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The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday published a searing caricature of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid high tensions between him and French President Emmanuel Macron.

On Saturday, Erdogan said Macron needed "mental" treatment following a series of comments in which the French president criticized Islam and said it needed regulation in France.

In response, Paris recalled its ambassador from the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Sunday, with Erdogan joining a call Monday for Islamic nations to boycott French products.

Charlie Hebdo, whose 2015 cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad had inspired several terrorist attacks, weighed in Wednesday.

The cartoon depicts Erdogan sitting in a T-shirt and underwear, drinking a beer, and lifting up a woman's hijab to expose her bare backside.

Drinking alcohol is considered haram, or forbidden, by most Muslims, and Erdogan has long condemned it.

"Ouuuh! The Prophet!" the speech bubble from Erdogan's mouth said, suggesting Erdogan was only pretending to be a staunch defender of Islam.

The headline published alongside the cartoon said: "Erdogan: In private, he is very funny!"

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 27: (RUSSIA OUT) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron (R) attend their joint press conference at the Summit on October 27, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Turkey have gathered in Istanbul for a one-day summit on Syrian crisis. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron in Istanbul in 2018. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Turkish officials slammed the cartoon on social media.

"You cannot deceive anyone by hiding behind freedom of opinion! I condemn the immoral publication of the inexcusable French rag about our President," Fuat Oktay, the vice president, tweeted.

Turkey's communications director, Fahrettin Altun, tweeted: "We condemn this most disgusting effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred."

Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan's spokesman, tweeted: "We strongly condemn the publication of the French magazine, which has no respect for any faith, sacred and value, about our President."

Macron has not publicly commented on Wednesday's caricature.

charlie hebdo memorial
A memorial for the Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier and the cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Bernard Verlhac, and Jean Cabut on the Place de la Republique in Paris on January 8, 2015, shortly after an attack on the magazine's office. MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

On October 2, Macron called Islam "a religion in crisis all over the world" and announced a new law that would see his government monitor how mosques and Islamic communities are funded and how clerics are trained in France.

The law gained new relevance on October 16, when Samuel Paty, a teacher, was decapitated in northern Paris after showing his class the 2015 Charlie Hebdo cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.

Creating or proliferating images of God or the Prophet is not permissible in Islam and is considered blasphemous.

The attacks prompted by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons have seen Macron spend the past three years criticizing what he describes as Islamic separatism in France and outlining his plan to eradicate homegrown extremism.

At a memorial service for Paty last week, Macron defended Charlie Hebdo, saying the country "will not give up our cartoons."

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