ISTANBUL (AFP) –
Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday called for two prominent journalists who featured Charlie Hebdo’s cover with the image of the Prophet Mohammed in their columns to be jailed for four and a half years.
Istanbul’s chief public prosecutor has charged Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Cetinkaya with “inciting public hatred” and “insulting religious values” by illustrating their columns with the cartoon, the Hurriyet daily reported.
The cartoon was a smaller version of the controversial front cover depicting the Prophet Mohammed that French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo printed in its first edition after the attack on its offices by Islamist gunmen in January that killed 12 people.
The cartoon angered Muslims all over the world and most media in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey refrained from publishing it.
Turkish daily Cumhuriyet on January 14 had published a four-page Charlie Hebdo pull-out translated into Turkish marking the French satirical weekly’s first issue since the attack.
The edition did not include the controversial front cover of the Prophet Mohammed but a smaller version of the cartoon was included twice inside the newspaper to illustrate columns on the subject by Karan and Cetinkaya.
Prosecutors had announced the day after the publication of the issue that they had opened an investigation into the two columnists.
The case, based on a 38-page indictment and complaints by 1,280 individuals, has now been submitted to the criminal court ahead of trial, Hurriyet said.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had condemned the publication of cartoons of the Muslim prophet as an “open provocation”, warning that Turkey would not tolerate insults against Mohammed.
There has been growing concern about the numbers of journalists currently facing legal proceedings in Turkey, many on accusations of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Cumhuriyet daily, which sees itself as the voice of secular Turkey, is a vehement opponent of the Islamic-rooted authorities under Erdogan.