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Social media users outraged by French magazine’s ‘disgusting’ cartoon mocking Turkey-Syria earthquake

Survivors react near rubble following an earthquake in Hatay, Turkey, on February 7, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

The notoriously-controversial French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has derided the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled Turkey and Syria, with social media users condemning the move as “disgusting” as the tremor’s death toll surpassed 6,000.

On its Twitter account on Monday, the satirical magazine posted a cartoon called "Earthquake in Turkey," and under the drawing of collapsed buildings, rubble and an overturned car was a caption that read, "Didn't even need to send the tanks.”

The huge earthquake struck Turkey and Syria before dawn on Monday and was followed by a series of aftershocks, leaving at least 6,000 people dead and thousands of others injured amid an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

Responding to the Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon, by an artist named Juin, some of the publication's more than 11 million viewers on social media described the drawing as "disgusting", "pathetic" and "inhuman.”

"The most disgusting thing I’ve ever read in a while. Posting provoking content so you get free publicity, whilst hiding behind the freedom-of-speech-card," Twitter user Sumi wrote.

"The moral depravity of #charliehebdo is simply beyond utter disgust & horror at such an insensitivity about human suffering," wrote Huda Mzioudet, another Twitter user.

Some social media users said the cartoon was indicative of "European audacity" concerning freedom of speech.

"The European audacity to come and lecture us about freedom of expression whereas this is what they think freedom of expression is," Twitter user Simo said.

Twitter users called on the platform and its owner Elon Musk to delete the magazine's "racist" account.

The French magazine has a long history of publishing derogatory and sacrilegious cartoons in the name of freedom of expression.

Back in September 2020, it republished blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that were first released in 2015, sparking anger and outrage across the Muslim world.

The measure led to a deadly attack on January 7, 2015, which claimed the lives of 12 people, including eight staff of Charlie Hebdo.

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