Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
(Photo: AFP)

What began with the brutal murder of a teacher by an radicalised teen has now turned into a diplomatic crisis of sorts. French history teacher Samuel Paty's beheading had sparked a global debate. However, comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron while eulogising the slain teacher has seen several countries with Muslim leaders outraged.

Macron had said that France would not renounce its freedoms. The attack had come soon after Paty showed caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in class. While this was done in an academic context, the move had reportedly prompted outrage among some Muslim parents. Macron however has refused to put restrictions on religious satire, stating that Paty was "was killed because Islamists want our future". He noted that in spite of the attack, France would not give up their cartoons.

This in turn has prompted protests in several countries, as well as calls for boycott of French products. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have launched a scathing attack on France and its leader. Erdoğan's disparaging comments about Macron's mental state have prompted a furious back-and-forth, with Paris on Sunday recalling its ambassador from Turkey.

Now, yet another cartoon has become cause for debate, prompting vows of "legal, diplomatic actions" from Turkey. This one, by French magazine Charlie Hebdo, depicts Turkey's president lifting the dress of a veiled woman. And the country is most certainly not happy. As per a BBC report that quotes Turkish state media, prosecutors have launched an official investigation into the satirical magazine. Vice-President Fuat Oktay has also called on the international community to raise its voice against "this disgrace".

In a Twitter thread, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun had called the cartoons "loathsome". Condemning the incident he said that the cartoons were "the product of a xenophobic, Islamophobic, and intolerant cultural environment the French leadership seems to want for their country". In another tweet he added that this was President Macron’s "anti-Muslim agenda" bearing fruit.

"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," he had tweeted.

The news has also irked many on social media platforms, with Turkey becoming a trending topic on Twitter. Many have, over the last few days, expressed their intent to boycott French products, or even the country as a whole. Interestingly, there is also a counter-trend where people have been expressing vocal support for France.

India on Wednesday came out in support of Macron, with the MEA denouncing "personal attacks in unacceptable language on President Emmanuel Macron".

(With inputs from agencies)

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