ISTANBUL, OCT 28 – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday vented his outrage at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo for mocking him in a front-page cartoon.
His office also vowed to take unspecified “legal and diplomatic actions” against the weekly.
The publication has stoked fury in Turkish political circles and added to a sense of crisis enveloping Turkey’s deteriorating relations with France.
It came out just days after Erdogan called for a boycott of French products and questioned President Emmanuel Macron’s sanity for promoting a drive against radical Islam.
Macron’s accompanying defence of the media’s right to mock religion has stirred angry protests across Turkey and swathes of the Muslim world.
Erdogan said he had never personally seen the Charlie Hebdo drawing because he did not want to “give credit to such immoral publications”.
But he called it “disgusting” nonetheless.
“I don’t need to say anything to those scoundrels who insult my beloved Prophet (PBUH) on such a scale,” Erdogan said in a speech to his party’s lawmakers in the parliament.
“I am sad and frustrated not because of this disgusting attack on me personally but because of the impertinence taking aim at our Prophet we love more than ourselves,” he said.
Erdogan on Wednesday accused “Macron and those who share the same mentality with him” of pursuing “vicious, provocative and ugly policies that sow the seeds of hatred”.
Ankara prosecutors said they were launching an investigation into the publication for “insulting the head of state”.
The cartoon was published in the middle of an emotional debate over France’s broader policy toward Muslims.
That conversation has been lent urgency by the murder near Paris this month of a teacher who showed his class the blasphemous sketches previously published by Charlie Hebdo.
Macron’s defence of the drawings saw tens of thousands march Tuesday through the Bangladesh capital Dhaka and protesters burn pictures of Macron and French tricolour flags in Syria.
Smaller protests returned to Dhaka on Wednesday and also hit the Indian city Mumbai and parts of the Gaza Strip.