Publisher shuts Turkey weekly over cartoon blasphemy

Members of Turkish police special forces stand guard at the police headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 17 February 2017
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Publisher shuts Turkey weekly over cartoon blasphemy

ISTANBUL: The publisher of one of Turkey’s most prominent cartoon magazines on Friday shut down the weekly and fired all its staff after it published a cartoon of Prophet Moses deemed to be offensive.
“The decision has been taken for the magazine to be closed and all the staff laid off because of the distasteful cartoon,” the publishers said in a statement on the magazine’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
“The cartoon has disturbed society and disturbed us as a publishing company,” it said.
Girgir has since 2015 been published by the group of the Sozcu newspaper, a secular nationalist daily which is staunchly opposed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The publishers blamed the cartoon on a deliberate attempt to “put the company in a difficult situation” and said it would inform prosecutors of which employees were behind it.
A statement by the magazine, before the closure was announced, apologized for the cartoon, saying “it was not noticed before printing because of tiredness and insomnia.”
Two Turkish journalists from the Cumhuriyet daily were last year ordered to serve two years in jail for illustrating their columns with a blasphemous cartoon originally published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted after the publication of the Girgir cartoon that “this has nothing to do with freedom of speech or humor. This is immoral and a hate crime.”
The cartoon was also angrily condemned by the editor in chief of Istanbul’s Jewish weekly Shalom Ivo Molinas who tweeted: “What a disgrace! What disrespect!”


Tripoli ceasefire remains steadfast despite recent clashes: UN Libya envoy

Updated 21 min 41 sec ago
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Tripoli ceasefire remains steadfast despite recent clashes: UN Libya envoy

  • Fighting broke out this week between rival armed groups in the south of the capital

UNITED NATIONS: A cease-fire in Tripoli remains steadfast despite heavy recent clashes, UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé told the Security Council on Friday.

Fighting broke out this week between rival armed groups in the south of the capital, breaching a shaky ceasefire brokered by the UN in September.

In a comprehensive bbriefing, Salamé said the UN mission in libya was cooperating with the Libyan Reconciliation Government to transfer control of prisons to the authority of the state, but armed groups are assuming responsibility for law enforcement rather than official Libyan bodies.
He also said new divisions emerge in Libya every day that should be dealt with.
Salamé said the country can not succeed without a united national leadership, calling on Libyan parties to cooperate constructively to approve and pass the UN backed constitution. Libya has been split between rival parliaments, one in tripoli and one in Benghazi, since a civil war erupted during the downfall of former ruler Muammar Qaddafi.
The UN envoy said “we need additional effort to establish a stable and prosperous economic system in Libya,” adding that the Libyan currency has gained stability, inflation has decreased and progress has been achieved in resolving the liquidity crisis.
He said the UN mission stressed the importance of allowing aid to civilians in Libya without hindrance, noting that all Libyans suffer from violations, violence and difficult humanitarian conditions.
“Without international support, the saboteurs will succeed in undermining the political process in Libya,” he added.
Finally, Salamé said they expect the UN office in Benghazi, in the east, to be reopened before the end of January