Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has described the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as a “grave provocation.”
“Freedom of the press does not mean freedom to insult,” Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara on January 15. “We cannot allow insults to the Prophet.”
A Turkish court has already responded to Cumhuriyet’s publication of the material by banning access to some sites showing the cartoon, the cover of Charlie Hebdo’s latest issue, the FT reports:
In a separate move denounced by critics as a restriction on the freedom of the press, the government this week imposed a media ban ordered by a court on the reporting of documents that purport to show that Turkey sent trucks laden with weapons to Syrian rebels last year. …..
Utku Çakırözer, Cumhuriyet’s editor, said the newspaper’s decision to publish the Charlie Hebdo material was a gesture of solidarity after last week’s murderous assault on the French magazine’s offices, which he labelled an “attack against the freedom of expression”. “Cumhuriyet, which has lost its own writers to terrorist attacks, understands the pain of the Charlie Hebdo massacre very well,” he tweeted.
In 2014, Turkish journalist Hasan Cemal became the recipient of Harvard University’s Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism, Yildiray Ogur writes for The Daily Sabah:
Over the past 45 years, Cemal has witnessed the overthrow of five democratically-elected governments by the Armed Forces. As a matter of fact, the Lyons Award winner admitted in his memoirs that he took orders from the military junta, which unsuccessfully attempted to seize the government on March 9, 1971, and to bomb a military barracks….. When he left Milliyet after the paper changed hands (which, for the record, he repeatedly said had nothing to do with government hostility), Cemal became a columnist at T24, a popular website sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy.