Charlie Hebdo Turkish version to counter 'attack on secularism'

13th January 2015, Comments 1 comment

Charlie Hebdo's chief editor said a Turkish version of the satirical French magazine will be sold Wednesday because constitutional secularity is "under attack" in mainly Muslim Turkey.

Gerard Biard told AFP on Tuesday that the Turkish version was "the most important" of the five foreign versions of the weekly to come out on Wednesday.

The special issue features a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign and under the title "All Is Forgiven".

"Turkey is in a difficult period and secularity there is under attack," Biard told AFP.

He added that an arrangement had been struck with Turkey's opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet for it to print the Turkish version and sell it along with copies of its own daily.

However, Cumhuriyet denied that and told AFP that such a deal was just a "rumour".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in recent weeks come under strong pressure over Turkey's media rights record following raids in December against opposition media.

Turkey has long been accused of a lack of press freedom, and Erdogan of seeking to roll back the principle of secularity enshrined in Turkey's constitution.

Turkey, which once had large Christian minorities, is now 99 percent Muslim, and critics of Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have accused it of trying to Islamicise society.

The president, a practising Muslim, has described efforts to promote birth control as "treason", told young Muslims with tattoos to beg God for forgiveness, and called for a new school curriculum to give prominence to historical Muslim scholars.

Turkey was the world's top jailer of journalists in 2012 and 2013, ahead of Iran and China, according to the international Committee to Protect Journalists, before improving to 10th place in 2014.

The first issue of Charlie Hebdo since Islamist gunmen attacked it last week, killing 12 people, is to come out in six languages. The French, Turkish and Italian versions will be printed, while the English, Arabic and Spanish ones will be offered in electronic form.

© 2015 AFP

1 Comment To This Article

  • chessy posted:

    on 13th January 2015, 23:42:15 - Reply

    How the hell is this supposed to help? Seems like more attacking to me. This paper is obviously just trying to provke not help.