Protests against 'Dictator' Erdoğan magazine cover ‘unacceptable’ - Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday condemned protests against French Le Point magazine’s provocative cover that likened Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a dictator, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
"It is utterly unacceptable that posters of Le Point should be withdrawn from newspaper kiosks on the grounds that they displease the enemies of freedom, in France or abroad," the French president said in a tweet on Monday, adding, "Freedom of the press has no price; without it, it's dictatorship.’’
Over the weekend, Erdoğan supporters took to the streets in several cities throughout France in protest of the latest issue of the left-leaning magazine, which examined the Turkish leader's policies and included an editorial that asked whether Turkey’s strongman is a "new Hitler," referring to the former dictator and mass murderer that led Nazi Germany during World War II.
Police were deployed in the country’s southern city of Avignon, after a group of Erdogan's supporters tried to remove posters advertising the magazine at a kiosk.
The kiosk said the men threatened to set his establishment on fire if he failed to remove them.
"After a week of harassment, insults, intimidation and anti-Semitic slurs and threats toward us on social media, now has come the moment when the supporters of [Erdogan's Justice and Development Party] are attacking symbols of freedom of expression and diversity in the press," Le Point magazine said on its website.
President Erdoğan’s spokesman, İbrahim Kalın, also tweeted about Le Point’s cover on Friday, writing, “A French magazine called President Erdoğan a dictator. We know these attacks. We know their goals. Our nation and all oppressed nations see what is going on. The days when Turkey took orders from you are over. You cannot bring those days back by calling [Erdoğan] a ‘dictator’.”
Turkey has experienced increased tensions with several European countries since the failed coup of July 2016. A major crackdown has led to the arrest of tens of thousands of soldiers, police officers, judges and teachers, under the country’s ongoing state of emergency which was implemented after the coup.