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Turkey court orders block on websites with Charlie Hebdo cover

“Access to relevant sections of Internet sites that publish Charlie Hebdo’s cover today will be banned,” it said.

The court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir made the ruling following a petition from a lawyer, it added, without giving further details.

Defying an attack a week ago by Islamist gunmen who shot dead many of its staff, Charlie Hebdo’s first post-attack edition on Wednesday pictured a tearful Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) on its cover holding a sign saying “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”).

In a show of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, leading Turkish daily Cumhuriyet printed excerpts from the issue, a move that risked a backlash in the predominantly Muslim country.

The pull-out edition did not include the controversial front cover but a smaller version of that cartoon featuring the prophet was included twice inside the newspaper to illustrate columns on the subject.

Few Turkish websites published the cover but among those who did was the opposition website T24.tr. Access to the picture was still unfiltered Wednesday afternoon despite the court ruling.

The publication triggered a hashtag #UlkemdeCharlieHebdoDagitilamaz (Charlie Hebdo may not be distributed in my country).

Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government has condemned last week’s deadly attacks that left 17 people dead while refuting any link between Islam and violence and denouncing Islamophobia which it says is increasing in Europe and elsewhere.

Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan on Wednesday denounced publications which he said were attacking Islamic symbols and aimed at provoking Islamophobia.

“We condemn provocations, attacks and defamation against the Muslims and Islamic symbols the same way as we denounced the Paris attacks,” he wrote in a message on Twitter.

“Those who disregard Muslims’ sacred (values) by publishing images attributed to Holy Prophet are in open provocation,” he said.

Last week, Turkey’s top Muslim cleric Mehmet Gormez condemned the attacks in Paris “without buts” but said freedom of expression has a limit, in an interview with AFP.

In September 2012, Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Mohammed as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film “Innocence of Muslims” that had infuriated Muslims. -AFP



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