Turkish leaders condemn Charlie Hebdo cartoon of Erdogan

Turkish officials are railing against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo over its cover-page cartoon mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing it of sowing “the seeds of hatred and animosity.”

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish officials on Wednesday railed against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo over its cover-page cartoon mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and accused it of sowing “the seeds of hatred and animosity.”

“We strongly condemn the publication concerning our president of the French magazine, which has no respect to faith, the sacred and values,” Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, wrote on Twitter.

Kalin said: “The aim of these publications, that are devoid of morality and decency, is to sow seeds of hatred and animosity. To turn freedom of expression into hostility towards religion and belief can only be the product of a sick mentality.”

The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into Charlie Hebdo managers over the cartoon, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in prison.

The cartoon depicted Erdogan in his underwear holding a drink and lifting the skirt of a woman wearing an Islamic dress.

“I condemn this incorrigible French rag’s immoral publication concerning our president,” Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay wrote on Twitter. “I call on the moral and conscientious international community to speak out against this disgrace.”

Macron’s stance sparked anti-France protests in Turkey and in other Muslim countries as well as calls for the boycott of French good.

Tensions between France and Turkey have mounted in recent months over Turkish actions in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus Mountains region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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