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Turkey Condemns Danish Cartoons of Islamic Prophet


Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has added his voice to those that are condemning the publication of caricatures of Islam's prophet. On Friday, he called the images an attack on the spiritual values of the Muslim people.

Late last year, during an official trip to Denmark, Mr. Erdogan criticized images that depict the Prophet Muhammad in different guises.

On Friday, he went further. He was quoted by the Turkish media as saying there should be a limit to freedom of the press. He said caricatures of Islam fuel conflict at a time when the world is seeking to establish an alliance between civilizations.

Mr. Erdogan's latest comments came as Muslims around the world staged demonstrations against the caricatures that were first published in one of Denmark's largest daily newspapers, the Jyllands-Posten.

In Turkey, hundreds of demonstrators burned the Danish flag after Friday prayers and pelted the Danish consulate in Istanbul to protest the cartoons. The 12 images published four months ago include one of Mohammed turning away suicide bombers from paradise saying there are no more virgins left. Mr. Erdogan, a devout Muslim, said he found the images unacceptable.

Analysts say Mr. Erdogan's remarks about limits on press freedom are sure to draw criticism from the European Union. Turkey opened membership talks with the 25 nation alliance in October but has faced mounting censure over the continued prosecution of academics, journalists and writers, including the world famous novelist Orhan Pamuk, for expressing views deemed to insult the Turkish identity.

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