Police intervened in a clash between an Islamist group and a group commemorating the victims of Charlie Hebdo and journalist Hirant Dink in Ankara, Turkey. It turned violent, which forced the police to use gas to break up the crowd.
The pro-Charlie Hebdo group “attempted to release a press statement in favor” of the newspaper and Dink, the editor-in-chief of the Agos Daily who was murdered in 2007. The Islamists responded by throwing stones and bottles.
The Islamists threatened the pro-Charlie Hebdo group after they announced a rally to honor the victims and displayed posters that said “Je Suis Charlie.” One student said the school “‘would see unprecedented violence’ if the posters were not taken down.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has often exhibited an anti-West attitude, even though the country is a member of NATO. On January 16, Erodgan blamed the newspaper for violence due to their cartoons of Mohammed.
“This magazine (is) notorious for its provocative publications about Muslims, about Christians, about everyone,” said Erdogan at a business meeting. “This is not called freedom. This equates to wreaking terror by intervening in the freedom space of others. We should be aware of this. There is no limitless freedom.”
Erdogan stood next to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when he attacked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for attending a unity march in Paris, claiming “he has killed 2,500 people in Gaza with state terrorism.” Erdogan made a similar argument, claiming Netanyahu “should first give an account for the children and the women” he allegedly killed. He also blamed the West’s attitude towards Islam as a reason for the massacre.
“The West’s hypocrisy is obvious,” he said. “As Muslims, we’ve never taken part in terrorist massacres. Behind these lie racism, hate speech and Islamophobia. Please, the administrations in those countries where our mosques are attacked need to take measures. 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 organisation track those who leave prison?”