Turkey slams Germany’s Spiegel over ‘provocative’ edition

Turkey on Wednesday angrily criticised leading German news magazine Der Spiegel for a special edition that called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a dictator, saying the edition was provocative and showed a “distorted mindset”.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that the issue — a special edition of the weekly devoted entirely to Erdogan’s Turkey — was particularly offensive to Muslims coming during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The edition is a “new manifestation of the distorted and prejudiced mindset” targeting the predominantly Muslim country, it said, saying that the cover was “especially provocative”.

“A country loses its freedom,” the special issue of the German magazine, published Tuesday, said on its cover, describing Erdogan as a “dictator”.

The cover showed a granite-faced Erdogan wearing sunglasses as well as two minarets from an Istanbul mosque transformed into rockets and lifting off for an attack.

Introducing the special edition, Der Spiegel said: “What is going on in Turkey? There is hardly a day without bad news… President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is changing from a reformer into a despot.”

Der Spiegel has a long history of run-ins with the Turkish authorities and earlier this year withdrew its correspondent to Istanbul after he failed to receive his annual accreditation.

Relations between Berlin and Ankara are also still tense after the German parliament passed a resolution saying that the World War I massacres of Armenians by Ottoman forces constituted genocide, a classification that Turkey vehemently denies.