Ankara calls on European countries to fight back against "cultural racism, intellectual barrenness, and uncivilised discourse" as notorious magazine publishes a series of "loathsome" cartoons.

Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against French President Macron's anti-Muslim policies, in Ankara, on October 27, 2020.
Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against French President Macron's anti-Muslim policies, in Ankara, on October 27, 2020. (AFP)

Turkey has blasted controversial French magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing "loathsome" so-called caricatures of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as pressure mounts on France over its anti-Muslim policies. 

"Charlie Hebdo just published a series of so-called cartoons full of despicable images purportedly of our president. We condemn this most disgusting effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred," Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter on Tuesday night.

Muslims around the world have taken issue with France President Emmanuel Macron and his attitude towards Islam. The recent fallout started after Macron defended the right to mock religion following the beheading of a French school teacher who had shown his students cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in a class on secularism.

Depictions of prophets are strictly avoided in Islam. Objections to the caricatures of Prophet Muhammed include the complaint that they were produced with the deliberate intention of mocking the Muslim community as a whole. The caricatures were seen alongside the context of the French state's terse relationship with Muslims, after successive French governments introduced laws that have targeted practices such as eating halal food and women wearing the hijab.

Turkish presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin said the aim of these "immoral and shameless publications" was to sow seeds of hatred and animosity. 

"Everyone with common sense should condemn and reject this disgusting publishing," Kalin said.

"The so-called caricatures are loathsome and they are devoid of any real sense of human decency. It's clearly the product of a xenophobic, Islamophobic, and intolerant cultural environment the French leadership seems to want for their country," Altun said. 

While underscoring Turkey's position of being opposed to any violence and acts of terrorism against civilians, he said: "We will not remain silent in the face of disgusting attacks on our culture and religion no matter where it comes from. The racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic incitements will not be able to provoke us into reciprocating in kind," he added. 

Altun called on all "sensible" European friends to fight back against "this kind of primitive cultural racism, intellectual barrenness, and uncivilised discourse."

READ MORE: Turkey calls for boycott as France faces backlash over treatment of Muslims

READ MORE: French politicians use anti-Islam rhetoric to gain political mileage - OIC

Fury over Macron's anti-Muslim policies 

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of protesters marched through the Bangladesh capital in the biggest anti-France rally since Macron justified the cartoons on the basis of free speech.

In Syria, people burned pictures of France's leader, tricolour flags were torched in the Libyan capital Tripoli, while French goods have been pulled from supermarket shelves in Qatar, Kuwait and other Gulf states.

Erdogan has called for a boycott of French goods, ramping up a standoff between France and Muslim countries over the Charlie Hebdo's caricatures targeting Muslims and Islam. 

Erdogan has led the charge against Macron over his defence of the right to mock religion.

The depictions of Prophet Muhammad were first published years ago by Charlie Hebdo, whose editorial offices were then attacked by gunmen in 2015, killing 12 people.

READ MORE: Erdogan warns of Europe's self-destructive Islamophobia

READ MORE: Anti-Semitism is unacceptable in France, why not Islamophobia?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies