When Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu marched in the January 11th rally in Paris, both his appearance in it as well as the decision by France to welcome him was awkward at best. Davutoglu is beginning to reveal why. During a trip to Belgium on another diplomatic offensive – to make Turkey part of the EU – Davutoglu essentially justified the actions of the terrorists who murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for publishing anti-Muhammaed cartoons.
In a report by the AFP:
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the European Union on Thursday they shared many values, including freedom of speech, but warned against stigmatising Muslims in the fallout from the Paris Islamist attacks.
Davutoglu, in Brussels to press for progress on Turkey’s stalled EU-membership bid, had warned only hours earlier that publication of cartoons of the Muslim prophet were an “open provocation” and would not be tolerated.
“Freedom of the press does not mean freedom to insult,” the premier said in Ankara. “We do not allow any insult to the prophet in this country.”
He also accused his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu of having committed “crimes against humanity” comparable to those of the Islamist gunmen behind two Paris attacks that left a total of 17 dead.
Davutoglu’s appearance at the rally may say more about the muddled messaging and ambiguous positions of western leaders than it does about Turkey.