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Turkish gov’t slams Charlie Hebdo for electrocuted Erdoğan cover

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Turkish government officials have harshly criticized French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which has implied in the cover cartoon of its latest issue that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will leave the top state post only if he dies, Voice of America’s (VOA) Turkish Service reported on Wednesday.

The magazine depicted Erdoğan being electrocuted in a bathtub with a light bulb, the symbol of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in his hand. The statement “Just like Cloclo, only fate will save us from him” accompanied the cover illustration.

It was a reference to the 1978 death of popular French singer and composer Claude François, also known by the nickname Cloclo, who died at the age of 39 from an electric shock while attempting to adjust a light fixture on the wall while taking a bath.

The magazine’s cover came after Turkey held parliamentary and presidential elections on Sunday.

Although most public surveys showed opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu running neck-and-neck with Erdoğan or defeating him in the presidential election, Kılıçdaroğlu finished the race behind Erdoğan.

Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın on Wednesday criticized Charlie Hebdo in a tweet for insulting Erdoğan in its cover cartoon, calling the magazine a “rag.”

“Don’t worry CH. Our nation will give you the best answer, with a louder voice, on May 28,” Kalın added, referring to the upcoming presidential runoff.

Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also described the magazine as “one of the most important centers of provocation, insult and blasphemy in the world media,” adding that it has “once again proven to the world how disgusting it is” with its latest illustration of Erdoğan.

“It seems that the significant success achieved by our esteemed president in the May 14 election has provided an opportunity for these people to … spew their hatred and grudges. No matter what you do, you can’t intimidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. You can’t deter us from our path, either,” Altun said.


Meanwhile, three executives and one cartoonist from Charlie Hebdo are standing trial in absentia in Turkey on charges of insulting Erdoğan on one of the magazine’s covers in 2020 that depicts the Turkish president sitting in his underwear, drinking a beer and lifting the skirt of a woman wearing Islamic dress.

Insulting the president is subject to criminal charges under controversial Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), and thousands of people in the country are under investigation, with most of them being under the threat of imprisonment, over alleged insults of Erdoğan.

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