Turkey slams Charlie Hebdo’s cover of electrocuted Erdogan in tub

Government officials say the May 28 run-off will prove Erdogan’s popularity as magazine’s cover called ‘inhumane’.

The front page of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is seen
The front page of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is seen at a newspaper kiosk in Paris [File: Christian Hartmann/Reuters]

Turkey has hit back at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for its latest cover, which features a cartoon of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan being electrocuted in a bathtub.

The magazine released its weekly issue on Wednesday, three days after Turkish elections, and it features the presidential candidate naked and being shocked by an electrical bulb.

The cover blurb with the bright yellow and red cartoon reads “Erdogan: Like Cloclo, only fate will rid us of him!”

Cloclo was the nickname of the French pop singer Claude Francois, who died in 1978 when he was electrocuted trying to fix a lightbulb from his bathtub.

Several Turkish officials lambasted the publication for its cover as Erdogan prepared to compete in a run-off at the end of the month to extend his 20 years in power.

“Publications like Charlie Hebdo, whose only motivation is to spew hate against Islam, continue to target our President Erdogan clearly because he is one of the most consequential Muslim leaders in modern times,” Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said in a lengthy tweet.

“We will not fall into their trap but we will continue to call out their disgusting xenophobia that they try to sell as freedom of expression,” he said.

Ibrahim Kalin, an adviser to Erdogan, also said in a tweet that the second round of presidential voting on May 28 would prove how popular the incumbent is.

“If the Charlie Hebdo rag went so crazy … we’re on the right path,” he said. “Our nation will give you the best answer, with an even louder voice, on May 28.”

Translation: “If the Charlie Hebdo rag went so crazy … we’re on the right path. Evil is like this sometimes. It guides the good. Don’t worry CH. Our nation will give you the best answer, with an even louder voice, on May 28.”

Vice President Fuat Oktay also condemned the cover, reiterating the significance of the run-off.

Translation: “I strongly condemn Charlie Hebdo’s targeting of our President and the will of the Turkish nation under the guise of freedom of expression. Our nation and we, too, can see who, where and how they were bothered by the success of our President on May 14. Our beloved nation will give the necessary answer to this mentality once again on May 28.”

Going into Sunday’s election, most opinion polls showed Erdogan trailing opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, but the president outdid Kilicdaroglu by 5 percentage points and narrowly missed winning outright in the first round.

Erdogan’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, joined the chorus of criticism against Charlie Hebdo, calling the publication “inhumane”.

Translation: “The inhumane, ignoble Charlie Hebdo continues to insult the Turkish Nation. Let us not forget! Those who praise evil always drown in their own hatred and mischief. The real lesson is that those who cannot defeat the free will of the Turkish Nation with various games are desperately relying on fate.”

Charlie Hebdo has for years sparked controversies. Its content directed at the Muslim world in particular has incited anger – most notably, its cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Recently, the magazine had also made light of Turkey’s devastating February earthquakes, which killed more than 50,000 people.

Source: Al Jazeera