January 14, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 5933

Turkish Reactions To 'Charlie Hebdo' Terror Attack: Erdogan Accuses Western Hypocrisy, Racism, Hate Speech, Islamophobia; Islamist/Pro-AKP Media Justify It; Secular Media Mourns

January 14, 2015
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 5933

In Turkey's Islamist pro-AKP media, there were justifications for the January 7, 2015 terror attack on the office of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Headlines and columns carried claims that France was reaping what it had sowed, and that Charlie Hebdo had insulted the Prophet Mohammad and provoked Muslims.

While the AKP leadership condemned the attack, it also blamed the West for it; furthermore, its main concern was that it would deepen anti-Muslim sentiment.[1] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Western hypocrisy, racism, hate speech, and Islamophobia, saying, "We must be aware of [the West's] plots against the Muslim world." Additionally, an AKP MP, Ali Sahin, claimed, in a series of tweets, that the attack had been staged, like "on a movie set."

A billboard erected in the AKP-ruled city of Tatyan, in eastern Turkey, read: "Salute to the Kouachi brothers, who avenged the Messenger of Allah [i.e. Muhammad]/May Allah accept your martyrdom/ When you [i.e. the West] strike, it is democracy - when we avenge, it is terrorism."[2], January 10, 2015.

Turkey's non-Islamist media, particularly cartoonists, reacted emotionally to the attack. Journalists and cartoonists rallied in Istanbul carrying signs reading "Je Suis Charlie." The Turkish anti-Islamist satire periodicals Leman and Penguen both commemorated the events: Leman blacked out its Facebook and Twitter profile photos, and the Penguen magazine's trademark penguin was depicted weeping. 

Leman and Penguen were threatened in Turkey's Islamist media and on social media,[3] and secular media figures were harshly criticized.[4]

Threats against Leman and Penguen. Source: Cumhuryet, January 7, 2014

The following are examples of reactions in Turkey to the Charlie Hebdo attack.

President Erdogan: Western Hypocrisy, Racism, Hate Speech, Islamophobia To Blame For Attacks; "We Must Be Aware Of [The West's] Plots Against The Muslim World"

At a January 12, 2015 joint press conference with visiting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the French in the attack, saying that the perpetrators were French citizens who had been imprisoned in the past. Asking why they had not been under surveillance by French intelligence apparatuses following their release, he said that this was "thought provoking." He accused the West of hypocrisy and stated that Western racism, hate speech, and Islamophobia were to blame for it, saying, "We must be aware of their [i.e. the West's] plots against the Muslim world."

Erdogan also slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for "daring to attend" the January 11, 2015 solidarity rally in Paris, saying that he was committing state terrorism against the Palestinians: "With what face did he go there, and waved his hand [at crowds] as if people there were enthusiastically waiting for him? You must first give an accounting for the 2,500 Palestinians, women and children, whom you massacred!"[5]

AKP MP Sahin Tweets: The Attack Was Staged - "It Is As If They Filmed It All On A Movie Set"

On Twitter, AKP MP Ali Sahin claimed that the attack was not what it appeared to be, and that its actual targets were Muslims. He wrote in a series of tweets:

"There was no traffic on the street at the time of the attack and it is unlikely that a street in Paris would be empty on a week day."

"The ease in which the attackers got in and out of their cars to shoot a police officer raises question marks."

"Sounds of tekbir ['Allahu Akbar'] is a production, a mise en page."

"The moment when one [shooter] gets out of the car and shoots at the policeman lying on the road is questionable. The gun was aimed not at the policeman but in front of him. There is no blood."

"After the shooting of the policeman, the recording ends and does not continue to show the policeman."

"How can the terrorists disappear while moving inside the city despite the French cameras in every corner?"

"I claim that terrorists that were not caught under these circumstances, WILL NEVER BE CAUGHT, and the attack will be ascribed to ISLAM and MUSLIMS."

"It is as if they filmed it all on a movie set."[6]

AKP Mayor of Ankara: The Mossad Is Behind The Paris Attacks

Speaking at the Fourth AKP Youth Conference in Ankara, Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek claimed that the Mossad was behind the Charlie Hebdo attack and the attacks that followed it in Paris.[7] Gokcek said that Israel had been particularly perturbed at the French Parliament's and Senate's recommendation to recognize a Palestinian state: "Israel absolutely does not want this matter [i.e. recognition of Palestinian statehood] to spread. That is why the Mossad is behind these types of incidents. The Mossad instigates Islamophobia by staging such incidents. Following these incidents, Muslims were attacked in nearly 50 mosques and other places. The aim behind all this is the prevention of recognition of Palestine and the subjugation of the Muslims."

Turkish PM Davutoglu In Paris: "It Is Our Right To Demand The Same Sensitivity From Europe" Regarding "The Attacks On Mosques"

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in Paris along with many other world leaders to participate in the January 11, 2015 solidarity rally, told reporters at a press conference that he had come to show Turkey's solidarity with the French people following the two terrorist attacks in their country.[8] He also said: "It is our right to demand the same sensitivity from Europe in the matter of the attacks on mosques."

Stressing the symbolism and importance of the international solidarity event, Davutoglu praised French President Hollande's statements following the attacks that terrorism had nothing to do with Islam. He said that Turkey has always stood against terrorism, including state terrorism in Syria and Gaza, and that it would continue in this principled stand without double standards.

He added: "By being here, we are sending a message to Europe in face of the attacks being perpetrated against Muslims, against mosques. Europe is a continent of many religions. Islam, from Andalusia to the Ottoman Empire, is the most indigenous element of this continent. Our presence here is an assurance for [Turkish] citizens, and for [all] Muslims in Europe."

Underlining his concern over the rising racism in Europe, he said that "the same sensitivity that brought the world together today in Paris is our right now more than ever."

AKP Government Minister Gulluce: Christians, The West Nurtured Terrorism - "They Become Aware [Of It] Only When They Are Stung By It"

Speaking about the attacks, AKP Minister for Environment and Urbanization Idris Gulluce told the Turkish TGRT News:[9] "The boomerang thrown by the Christian world is now returning to strike it. The Europeans themselves nurtured this snake, thinking that it would not come back to bite them." He added: "I wish they had had this march [in Paris] 40 years ago. I wish 50 or 60 leaders would come to Turkey to condemn terrorism. They could have done this in other Muslim countries too - but they become aware [of terrorism] only when they are stung by it."

Gulluce claimed that Turkey suffered from terrorism that had been fostered by European countries and the U.S. since the 1850s. He said that the perpetrators of the July 2013 anti-Muslim Brotherhood coup in Egypt should have been treated as terrorists, and that people should also march in solidarity with its victims. He said: "Just as the world feels pain for the 12 people [killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack] now, they should have felt pain for the Algerians and should have organized marches for them. They miscalculated, and did not think that they would reap what they sowed. They threw a boomerang and it returned to strike them in the heart. The children of the 1.5 million people that they killed in Algeria are coming back at them now."

Gulluce accused the West of intentionally creating the terrorist organizations in order to stop the growth and development of Islam, and of destroying Somalia, of killing 300 million in Rwanda, and of laughing as thousands died in Bosnia. "They are doing dirty work," he said.

Idris Gulluce. Source: Turkiye, January 11, 2015.

Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz and deputy AKP chairman Besir Atalay also expressed their views about the attacks in France, stressing, "No one can connect terrorism and violence with Islam."[10]

Justifications For Attack In Pro-AKP Islamist Media

Columnist Karahasanoglu In Yeni Akit: "Should We Condemn The Incident In France?": "There Will Be Those Who Will All Be The Kouachi Brothers"

In a column in the Islamist Yeni Akit daily titled "Should We Condemn The Incident In France?" Ali Karahasanoglu wrote:[11]

"There was an attack in France on a satire magazine that often mocks Islam. Twelve are dead. I [personally] would have never thought of taking part in such an action. I would not advise anyone to engage in violence. But if they urge me to condemn the act, I would say: 'Wait a minute.' If you mock the religion of Islam, if you ridicule and insult the Prophet [Muhammad], and if you pay no attention to the warnings to stop - then do not expect condemnation from us [Muslims] when something happens to you.

"When bloody hands killed 3,000 people in one night in Egypt, did you condemn it? Did France condemn Gen. Sisi's coup? No. On the contrary, they [i.e. French President Hollande] posed for cameras arm in arm [with Sisi]. Now they want me to condemn an attack that killed 12 people, and I say, 'Just one minute.'

"You wicked ones among us [in Turkey], who called this incident 'France's 9/11.' You immoral ones! Millions are dying in Islam's geography. You scum do not talk about the 9/11s of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan - instead, you become the advocates of foreign infidels, and incite against Muslims.

"When thousands [of Muslims] die, you will be hand in hand with their murderers; when 12 of yours die, you expect us to publish condemnations! There's no such world."

In a subsequent column in the daily, titled "If You Are All Charlie, Then There Will Be Those Who Will All Be The Kouachi Brothers [the perpetrators]," Karahasanoglu wrote:[12]

"The [Turkish] daily Hurriyet said in a headline, 'The Pen Cannot Be Silenced.' Did they mean that they [pens] will continue to insult the Prophet? 'Even if some of us are killed, we will continue with our insults and the pen will not stop?' If this is what you mean, then you can be Charlie - and there will be those who stand up and say, 'We Are All The Kouachi Brothers.'"

Columnist Dilipak In Yeni Akit: "You Should Be Afraid, France!"; "What Is Now Bankrupt Is The Project Of Moderate Islam"

Also in Yeni Akit, Islamist columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak wrote under the headline, "You Should Be Afraid, France!" in reaction to the signs reading "On n'a pas peur" ("We are not afraid") carried in the massive January 11, 2015 march in Paris.[13] He stated: "These African kids will burn France. This terrorism can turn into a clash of civilizations that can be the end of history.

"Let me tell you: This fight will not end here. And it will not be limited to Paris. Similar events in Rome, Berlin, London, and New York will come as no surprise. Whatever happens in Istanbul, Diyarbakir, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Jerusalem, Gaza, Cairo, Tunis, Tripoli, and Crimea, will happen to you too. This is why you must fear. Your men stole everything we had. As if that were not enough, you vandalized our religion, values, traditions - everything. We have little to lose now. You should fear too.

"Weep, oh Paris Those kids whose fathers you killed, whose possessions you stole, those kids whom you enslaved - are coming at you, with hatred larger than their heads.

"They do not need to be organized. They have little to lose. There are many, many young people like these who seek vengeance."

In another column titled "Bravo, Children, You Did A Great Job!" on January 11, 2015, Dilipak wrote:[14] "You can condemn the terror in France all you want, but for those who planned it, this is a success worth celebrating. I am certain that some are congratulating sympathizers and saying, 'Bravo children, you did a great job.'

"If you ask me, the magazine [Charlie Hebdo] cartoonists are not innocent. They are not just an atheist group, but a group of enemies of religion that creates sensations by insulting the sacred. This will not end here.

"Whatever the results [for the perpetrators], this was a very successful operation. From now on, they will become increasingly professional. They can carry out simultaneous operations in multiple locations in Europe. These can happen one after the other. This is more effective than beheading ceremonies.

"The Paris crisis has shown that European countries are vulnerable and defenseless against such terror attacks. France is wounded by this attack. The point that has been reached may pose a great opportunity for those who are engaged in this. Could this event be an experiment to prepare the ground for what is yet to come?

"What is now bankrupt is the project of moderate Islam. It went bankrupt in Paris. From now on, nothing will be the same again."

In Istanbul, Funeral Prayer For Paris Terrorists

At the Islamist Aczmendi Lodge in Istanbul, funeral prayers were conducted for the Kouachi brothers, the perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo attack, and they were eulogized as martyrs." The prayers were led by Muslim Gunduz, the leader of an Islamist sect.[15]

@Muslimgunduz, January 10, 2015


[1] Turkiye (Turkey), January 11, 2015.

[2], January 10, 2015.

[3] Cumhuriyet, OdaTV (Turkey), January 7, 2015.

[4] Yeni Akit (Turkey), January 8, 2015.

[5] Yeni Akit, Zaman, Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), January 13, 2015.

[6] Sabah, Hurriyet Daily News, January 8, 2015.

[7] Turkiye, Sabah, January 12, 2015.

[8] IHA News Agency, Turkiye, January 11, 2015.

[9] Turkiye, January 11, 2015.

[10] Turkiye, January 11, 2015.

[11] Yeni Akit, January 8, 2015.

[12] Yeni Akit, January 10, 2015.

[13] Yeni Akit, January 10, 2015.

[14] Yeni Akit, January 11, 2015.

[15] Radikal, January 11, 2015.

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