Turkish journalists probed over Charlie Hebdo cover

AP News
Posted: Jan 15, 2015 11:42 AM
Turkish journalists probed over Charlie Hebdo cover

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Istanbul chief prosecutor's office on Thursday launched an investigation into two journalists who featured Charlie Hebdo's cover with the image of the Prophet Muhammad in their columns, the state-run news agency reported.

Earlier, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu — who attended the Paris march in solidarity with the French satirical newspaper — said his government would not allow "insults to our Prophet in this country."

The Anadolu Agency said prosecutors were investigating whether Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Cetinkaya violated laws against "inciting hatred and enmity" and "insulting religious values." They are expected to testify next week, it said.

Karan and Cetinkaya are columnists for the pro-secular newspaper Cumhuriyet which on Wednesday printed a selection of cartoons and articles in a show of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo.

The four-page pullout did not feature the controversial cover, but the two journalists on Wednesday used small, black-and-white images of the cover as their column headers. Cumhuriyet's editor in chief Utku Cakirozer said the paper took care to respect religious sensitivities, adding that the two journalists' decision to print the cover was "the personal choice of our writers."

On Wednesday, a court ordered a ban on access to four websites showing Charlie Hebdo's cover after a lawyer reportedly filed a petition saying the sites were a danger to public order. The web pages could still be accessed on Thursday, however.

"Freedom of the press doesn't equal freedom to insult," Davutoglu said. "This is a very clear basic principle. ... Printing the cartoon is heavy provocation."