Turkish Police Raid Newspaper Before Its Release of Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

xcumhuriyet-575x382.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kun5P9C3fw3Vm5-ai58lTurkish police stopped trucks carrying freshly-printed newspapers bearing Charlie Hebdo cartoons, searching the vehicles for almost an hour on Tuesday night.

Leftist newspaper Cumhuriyet (The Republic) agreed to print a special edition featuring a four-page spread of cartoons and comment that appeared in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, whose Paris offices were attacked last week, seemingly due to the magazine’s multiple depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Cumhuriyet’s editor said the move was a message of “solidarity” with the magazine.

“We condemn this attack on freedom of expression in the strongest terms,” said Utku Cakiroz in a statement, “and we want to show our solidarity”.

The police also took extreme security measures ahead of the scheduled publication of the supplement.

Police cars were sent to the printer of the daily in Istanbul early on Jan. 14 and halted trucks to prevent the distribution of the Jan. 14 edition. The distribution was eventually allowed after the prosecution made sure that cartoons representing the Prophet Muhammad were not included in the selection.

Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Utku Çakırözer stated earlier that they had decided not to publish a cartoon on the cover featuring the Prophet Muhammad in tears holding a “Je suis Charlie” banner, in reference to solidarity protests with the magazine.

“When preparing this selection, we have been attentive to religious sensitivities as well as freedom of belief, in line with our editorial principles,” Çakırözer said via Twitter on Jan. 13. “We didn’t include the cover of the magazine after a long deliberation.”