Erdoğan warns Muslims of provocation over film

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YALTA, Ukraine

PM Erdoğan condemns a film for provoking Muslims but also slams others for using the movie as an excuse to commit violence

A film mocking Islam that has sparked protests across the Muslim world is a provocation that cannot be justified as freedom of expression but should not be used as a pretext for violence, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sept. 14.

“I want to remind the Muslims of the world one more time. The film was a serious provocation. Those who are resorting to violence should know that this is a provocation of Muslims and we reject it,” Erdoğan said in a speech at a conference in the Ukrainian Black Sea resort of Yalta. Erdoğan’s comments came after the anti-Islamic movie “Innocence of Muslims” sparked global protests and outrage in the Muslim world.

“Legal and peaceful protest by Muslims is a useful and correct thing. But a protest cannot envisage any kind of violence or terrorism,” he said.

“Insulting the Prophet cannot be justified as freedom of expression,” said Erdoğan, adding that leaders should take necessary measures against those actions which cause provocation within society.
“It cannot be a reason for innocent people to be attacked or harmed,” he said. “This is justified by nothing and, above all, not by Islam. No one can, in the name of Islam, carry out actions of the kind that happened in Libya with the attack on the U.S. mission [in Benghazi].”

He said attackers who conduct violent protests in the name of Islam damage Muslims most and added that those who conduct terrorist actions in the name of Islam should be condemned in the strongest terms.

U.S. and Libyan officials are investigating an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other U.S. officials amid growing speculation that it was the work of militants rather than demonstrators. The amateurish film denigrating the Prophet Muhammad has allegedly been linked to evangelical and Coptic Christians in the United States.

Erdoğan said he believed that it was not possible for U.S. President Barack Obama to approve of the film and added that the extremists who prepared the movie should be punished.

Later on, Erdoğan met with the prime minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Anatoliy Mogilyov.

“We are observing that extreme rightist moves and racism target Muslims, this time Europe-wide; we are worried that it will escalate in Europe,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan also spoke about his views on global values and racism and said people should continue living in “multifariousness and unity” and stated that in order to achieve this, discrimination based on culture, religion and ethnicity should be rejected.

Compiled from AA and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.

September/15/2012

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