Turkey slams Macron over Erdogan magazine cover support

French magazine Le Point splashed a photo of the Turkish president on its May 24 edition calling him a 'dictator'.

    Turkey and some of the Western European countries have been in a war of words in recent years [Reuters]
    Turkey and some of the Western European countries have been in a war of words in recent years [Reuters]

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has slammed French President Emmanuel Macron over his support for a French magazine's cover calling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a "dictator".

    The Weekly French Magazine Le Point splashed a photo of the Turkish president on the cover of its May 24 edition with words that read: "The dictator. How far will Erdogan go?" 

    Le Point said it had suffered harassment and intimidation by supporters of Erdogan after it labelled him "The dictator".

    Macron waded into the debate, calling the harassment "totally unacceptable".

    "You cannot put a price on freedom of the press, without it, it's dictatorship," he tweeted.

    Cavusoglu hit back at Macron's comments by saying that pro-Erdogan activists in France, who attacked advertisements and newsstands featuring the image, were exercising their own freedom of expression.

    "Democracy is not just limited to accepting insults, curses and lies by one side but also taking into account the point of view and sensitivities of the other," Cavusoglu said in a tweet on Tuesday.

    "What goes beyond that is hypocrisy. And it's in response to that that the Turkish community in France has expressed its civilian and democratic reaction," he added.

    Police have been deployed in the southern city of Avignon since the weekend after a group of pro-Erdogan activists attempted to remove, then cover up advertisements for the magazine at newsstands.

    Another poster of the front cover was targeted and replaced by an Erdogan poster at a newspaper kiosk in the town of Valence on Sunday, Le Point said.

    "After a week of harassment, insults, intimidation and anti-Semitic slurs and threats towards us on social media, now has come the moment when supporters of the AKP (Erdogan's party) are attacking symbols of freedom of expression and diversity in the press," Le Point said on its website.

    There has been a large amount of social media activity around the issue.

    The left-leaning weekly, one of France's most-popular news magazines, published an investigation into the Turkish strongman in its latest edition which also included an editorial asking: "Is Erdogan a new Hitler?".

    Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party, which he cofounded in 2001, are seeking another mandate in advance of snap parliamentary and presidential polls on June 24.

    Tense ties

    France and other Western European governments have repeatedly condemned the Turkish government's detentions and civil service purges of tens of thousands of people after the failed coup attempt.

    Erdogan's government says the crackdown follows the rule of law and aims to remove coup supporters from state institutions.

    Many European countries are home to large Turkish-origin or migrant communities, but Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have barred Turkish politicians from electioneering in their countries.

    Around three million expatriate Turks are allowed to vote in the elections next month, including 1.4 million in Germany, and they are seen as a valuable source of support by Erdogan's party.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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