Ataturk-Era Newspaper in Turkey to Publish Charlie Hebdo Edition

A newspaper in Turkey whose roots stretch to the founding of the modern republic will truly live the words “je suis Charlie” on Wednesday when it publishes the new Charlie Hebdo issue in Turkish despite threats.


Cumhuriyet (The Republic), founded in 1924 at the encouragement of Mustafa Kemal, tweeted that it will continue to “defend the freedom of expression” and will dedicate four of its pages to the French satirical paper’s content. They’ll also reportedly double their normal press run to 100,000 copies.

Besides French, the only other language of Charlie Hebdo in print will be Italian. English, Spanish, and Arabic versions will be available in online formats.

Threats have reportedly been pouring into the newspaper in the 99 percent Muslim country, and some overtly posted on Twitter. Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, a member of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), stoked the flames by tweeting in all caps that the paper was about to commit a “serious provocation” and asking followers to spread the word. He also accused the newspaper of working with some foreign power and declared it a “game of the enemies of Islam.”

According to Agence France-Presse, Charlie Hebdo’s chief editor wanted a Turkish version because “Turkey is in a difficult period and secularity there is under attack.”

Gerard Biard stressed that the Turkish version is “the most important” of the five foreign-language versions.

France’s Libération newspaper reported that a team of about 10 translators volunteered from sundown Monday to sun-up Tuesday to craft Turkish-language puns.

They noted that it’s “a gamble in Erdogan’s Turkey,” but the AKP boxed itself into a corner by sending Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to march in Sunday’s “je suis Charlie” rally in Paris.


Still, if Erdogan’s government, which recently hauled a teenager out of school and into jail for allegedly calling the president a thief, doesn’t do the crackdown on Cumhuriyet itself, the tweet from Ankara’s mayor showed they’re ready to whip their Islamist allies into a frenzy over the issue.

According to Libération, Cumhuriyet editor Ayse Yildirim Başlangıç said the idea has been in the works since Wednesday, the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. “The idea was launched on the day of the attack to concretely demonstrate to our readers our professional solidarity with Charlie.”

The newspaper will have political allies in opponents of Erdogan and his Islamist party. Today the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, stressed to his parliamentarians that “secularism is the antidote to terror.”

“We are calling on the entire Islamic world: Please adopt secularism. It was described as sacrilege until yesterday, but secularism is the assurance of all faiths; it means no political interventions on people’s religions,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“We warned the government not once, not twice, not three times: If you follow such policies, terrorist organizations will become your neighbors. If you follow such policies, Turkey will pay the price.”

Hurriyet Daily News reported that the opposition leader directly addressed Davutoğlu. “He should ask himself: ‘Why am I being criticized?’ This terrorist organization called ISIL is designated as a terrorist organization everywhere in the world, except by one person, one government and one party: The AKP. Why don’t you designate it as one too?”


Erdogan said Monday that the terrorist attacks were France’s fault.

“The West’s hypocrisy is obvious. As Muslims, we’ve never taken part in terrorist massacres. Behind these lie racism, hate speech and Islamophobia,” Erdogan said. “…Games are being played with the Islamic world, we need to be aware of this.”

“French citizens carry out such a massacre, and Muslims pay the price. That’s very meaningful … Doesn’t their intelligence organization track those who leave prison?”

As this story was published, reports began spreading that the Turkish government may employ the police to stop distribution of the paper.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m. EST: Reports on Twitter indicate that the paper’s press site was raided by police without a court order, blocking distribution for about an hour.


Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member