Turkey said on Wednesday it will take legal and diplomatic steps in response to a caricature of President Tayyip Erdogan in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which officials called a “disgusting effort” to “spread its cultural racism and hatred”.
Turkish anger at the caricature added fuel to a row between Turkey and France about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which flared after a teacher who had shown pupils the cartoons in a lesson on freedom of speech was beheaded in France this month.
The cartoon on the cover of Charlie Hebdo showed Erdogan sitting in a white T-shirt and underpants, holding a canned drink along with a woman wearing an Islamic hijab.
“Our people should have no doubt that all necessary legal and diplomatic steps will be taken against the caricature in question,” Turkey’s Communications Directorate said.
“Our battle against these rude, ill-intentioned and insulting steps will continue until the end with reason but determination,” it said in a statement.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul told reporters in Ankara that Turkish authorities had taken all necessary initiatives with the relevant authorities. State media also reported that Turkish prosecutors had launched an investigation into Charlie Hebdo’s executives.
Top Turkish officials had condemned the caricature, with presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin saying it had no respect for “any belief, sacredness and values” and showed “their own vulgarity and immorality. He said the caricature could not be considered freedom of expression. Reuters