Turkey's Erdogan Attacks French Manifest Denouncing anti-Semitic References in Quran

Erdogan describes the group that includes actor Gerard Depardieu and former president Nicolas Sarkozy as 'despicable,' accuses them of attacking scriptures sacred to Muslims

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Ankara, May 8, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted angrily to a group of some 300 well-known French personalities who urged prominent Muslims to denounce anti-Jewish and anti-Christian references in the Quran.

Addressing a ruling party meeting on Tuesday, Erdogan described the group that includes actor Gerard Depardieu, singer Charles Aznavour and former president Nicolas Sarkozy, as "despicable" and accused them of attacking scriptures sacred to Muslims.

The group signed a manifesto which was published in Le Parisien newspaper last month. The statement urged Muslims to denounce some references so "no believer can refer to a holy text to commit a crime."

The publication of the manifesto followed the recent murderof 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll, which prompted a march against anti-Semitism in Paris.

Erdogan suggested other holy books had controversial references, saying: "If they had read it, they would probably ask for the Bible to be banned but they have no such concern."