Erdogan blasts 'disgusting' Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, October 28, blasted the "scoundrels" at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo for mocking him in a front-page cartoon.

His office also vowed to take "legal and diplomatic actions" over the depiction of the 66-year-old leader drinking a can of beer in his underpants and looking up a woman's skirt.

The publication has stirred outrage in Turkish political circles and added to a sense of crisis enveloping Turkey's relations with France.

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 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.

'Vicious and ugly'

Turkey is a mostly Muslim but officially secular country that has taken a more conservative and nationalist course under Erdogan's rule.

These policies have put Turkey and Erdogan at growing odds with France and its President Emmanuel Macron, who has defended the right to mock religion.

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."

The offending drawing showed Erdogan lifting up the skirt of a woman in a hijab, seeing her naked bottom and uttering: "Ooh, the prophet!"

The Ankara prosecutor's office said it was launching an investigation into the publication.

The cartoon was published against a backdrop of escalating tensions between Turkey and France, which have been at odds on a range of international disputes.

A debate over French policy toward Muslims, which was given new impetus by the murder this month near Paris of a teacher who showed his class a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, has further strained ties.

Erdogan has joined calls for a boycott of French goods, and said his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, needed "mental checks" over his tougher stance against radical Islam.

France responded by recalling its ambassador to Ankara.

Charlie Hebdo was the target of a massacre by Islamist gunmen in 2015 after it reprinted the controversial images of the prophet, which are strictly forbidden in Islam. – Rappler.com