Protest in Istanbul against Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Istanbul (AFP) –


Around 200 people in Istanbul demonstrated on Sunday against a French magazine's decision to republish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo -- the target of a massacre by Islamist gunmen in 2015 -- reprinted the controversial images to mark the start of the trial earlier this month of the alleged accomplices in the assault.

Images of the prophet are banned in Islam.

Twelve people, including some of France's most celebrated cartoonists, were killed on January 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi went on a gun rampage at the paper's offices in Paris.

Some protesters in Beyazit Square on the European side of Istanbul held placards warning Charlie Hebdo and French President Emmanuel Macron "will pay a heavy price".

Macron defended the magazine's "freedom to blaspheme".

Turkey's foreign ministry condemned the decision to republish the cartoons "that disrespect our religion and our prophet".

Nureddin Sirin, Kudus ( meaning "Jerusalem") TV editor-in-chief, warned "Macron will pay a very heavy price for both his arrogance in the eastern Mediterranean and his backing of insults against Islam using press freedom as an excuse".

He was referring to the tensions between Ankara and Paris over Turkey's gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece and Turkey are locked in a bitter row over energy resources and maritime borders, and France backs Athens, even deploying ships to the region in support.