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Turkey will not allow insult of the Prophet (PBUH), says PM

ANKARA: Turkey will not allow the Prophet (PBUH) to be insulted, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday, describing the publication of cartoons as an open provocation.

“Freedom of the press does not mean freedom to insult,” Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara a day after leading Turkish daily Cumhuriyet and Turkish Internet sites published cartoons featuring the prophet from the special Charlie Hebdo issue.

The newspaper produced a special four-page pull-out of cartoons and articles drawn from the French satirical magazine Wednesday in solidarity with the 12 people gunned down in an attack on its offices in Paris.

“We do not allow any insult to the prophet (peace be upon him) in this country,” Davutoglu said. “As the government, we cannot put side by side the freedom of press and the lowness to insult.”

Davutoglu said people were sensitive about their religion in the predominantly Muslim Turkey and could not be expected to show patience towards insults to the Prophet.

“If some print cartoons that insult the prophet — and this is the situation and there is a sensitivity in Turkey — it is a provocation… it is an open provocation,” said Davutoglu.

“We are determined to protect the honour of the prophet the same way as we are determined in our stance against terrorism in Paris,” he said.

A Turkish court on Wednesday ordered a block on access to websites featuring the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo, after a petition from a lawyer claiming that the printing of the cartoon had the potential to endanger the public order. (AFP)

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