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06 02 12 - 'Not Freedom of Expression but Reverence for Beliefs'
INTERNATIONAL 02.12.2006 Sunday - ISTANBUL 20:54 By Huseyin Akkas, Cihan News Agency, Jeddah Published: Sunday, February 12, 2006 “Restrictions on the freedom of expression is not the issue; what matters is actually the notion of respect,” said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in connection with the cartoon crisis. In an address to the audience at the Seventh Jeddah Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Gul said the cartoon crisis is resolved through the national constitutional consultancy in both western and eastern countries, and added, according to the European Union’s tenth article regarding human rights “Identities and religious values can not be attacked.” In this frame, the Turkish government is not only offended by the insolence towards the prophet Mohammed, but also by the way the issue is handled, said Mr. Gul: “We are against the kind of people who misuse a certain situation when they could instead help it to get better. Unfortunately, it is now the Islamo-phobia that is taking the place of anti-Semitism. We really believe in the freedom of press; however, we also assert the need to respect religions.” Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed his personal disapproval of the Mohammed cartoons, appealing for more sensitivity to Muslim beliefs: “The European integration is based on the notion of respect for different cultures and of tolerance towards cultural discrepancies.”


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