Er­do­gan slams French in­tel­lec­tu­als: You’re no dif­fer­ent than ISIL

The Miracle - - National & Int -

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan has hit out at a French man­i­festo that calls for cer­tain pas­sages of the Qu­ran to be re­moved, liken­ing the sig­na­to­ries to the text to mem­bers of the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group. An open let­ter, pub­lished on April 22 in Le Parisien news­pa­per and signed by nearly 300 prom­i­nent French fig­ures, ar­gued that verses of the Qu­ran call­ing for the “mur­der and pun­ish­ment of Jews, Chris­tians and dis­be­liev­ers” should be re­moved be­cause they are “ob­so­lete”. Sig­na­to­ries in­cluded for­mer French Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy and for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls as well as in­tel­lec­tu­als and other pub­lic fig­ures. “Who are you to at­tack our scrip­tures? We know how vile you are,” Er­do­gan re­torted on Tues­day in a speech in the cap­i­tal, Ankara. “You are no dif­fer­ent than ISIL,” he said. “Have they ever read their books, the Bible? Or the To­rah?” Er­do­gan asked, re­fer­ring to the Chris­tian and Jewish holy books, adding: “If they had read them, they prob­a­bly would want to ban the Bible.” The let­ter said “Is­lamist rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion” was to blame for what it de­scribed as a “quiet eth­nic purg­ing” in the Paris re­gion, with abuse forc­ing Jewish fam­i­lies to move out. A third of France’s record hate crimes tar­get Jews, de­spite the com­mu­nity mak­ing up only 0.7 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion. But Er­do­gan also pointed to Is­lam­o­pho­bia in the West, say­ing Ankara had warned its part­ners of “Is­lam­o­pho­bia, anti-Turk­ish feel­ing, xeno­pho­bia, racism”. Re­la­tions be­tween Tur­key and the West have been tense fol­low­ing a failed coup in July 2016, but ties with France have been fur­ther strained in re­cent weeks. Ten­sion rose af­ter French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron of­fered to me­di­ate be­tween Tur­key and out­lawed Kur­dish fight­ers, an of­fer fu­ri­ously re­jected by Er­do­gan. De­spite the let­ter be­ing pub­lished last month, the Turk­ish govern­ment first re­acted on the week­end as the coun­try gets ready for par­lia­men­tary and pres­i­den­tial polls in June. Tur­key’s Europe Min­is­ter Omer Ce­lik said on Sun­day the let­ter was “the most strik­ing ex­am­ple of in­tel­lec­tual vi­o­lence and bar­bar­ity”. Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim said: “No one can dare to touch even a sin­gle let­ter of Qu­ran; it is un­der God’s pro­tec­tion.”

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