Alwaght- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan filed a legal complaint against French Magazine Le Point after it accused him of conducting "ethnic cleansing" in northeastern Syria in a cover story entitled "The Eradicator".
State-owned Anadolu Agency said on Friday that Erdogan had asked prosecutors to open a case against Etienne Gernelle, the managing editor of Le Point magazine, and Romain Gubert, the author of the story.
The piece, published Wednesday, did not mince words when it came to Turkey’s leader and his incursion into Syria’s northeast, dubbed ‘Operation Peace Spring.’ The article, titled ‘Erdogan the Eradicator,’ accused him of seeking to “ethnically cleanse” and “massacre” Syria’s Kurds.
In addition to legal action, the Turkish president’s office issued a scorching response to the publication, targeting France as a whole. Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter that it was not up to the French to lecture anyone about “ethnic cleansing,” given the country’s bloody colonial past.
"France, that colonized many African countries like Algeria and Morocco, that massacred thousands of people, practiced the slave trade and watched the genocide in Rwanda. And a French magazine launches a slander of ethnic cleansing against us!” Kalin stated.
The true reason behind such attacks is the “hard blows” Ankara delivered to the French “pawns” in Syria, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the spokesman claimed.
"Kurds are not your proxy and will not be. Your days of colonization are over,” he added.
The angry reaction of the Turkish presidency, however, has seemingly left Le Point unshaken. The magazine dismissed all the allegations as an attempt to impose censorship on “the countries where the press is free” and vowed not to give in to Ankara’s pressure.
It’s not the first run-in with Turkey’s leader, the magazine said, mentioning another scandal involving Erdogan in May 2018, when the magazine’s cover featured his photo with the caption: “The Dictator.”
At the time, the magazine was also criticized by the Turkish president, while the posters featuring the cover were vandalized by his supporters in France. The editorial board also received direct death threats, according to Le Point.