Turkey on Wednesday vowed to take “legal and diplomatic actions” over a cartoon in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We assure our people that necessary legal and diplomatic actions will be taken against this cartoon,” the Turkish presidency said in a statement.
Minutes later, the Ankara prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into the publication.
The front-page caricature of Wednesday’s edition of Charlie Hebdo sparked fury in Turkey, a mostly Muslim country with increasingly tense relations with France.
The drawing showed the Turkish leader in T-shirt and underpants, drinking a can of beer and lifting up the skirt of a woman wearing a hijab to reveal her naked bottom.
“Ooh, the prophet!” the character says in a speech bubble, while the title proclaims “Erdogan: in private, he’s very funny”.
The Turkish presidency condemned the “provocative actions and the abject caricature of Charlie Hebdo, which can represent nothing other than the dirty swamp of ‘hostility against the Turks and Islam’ in which Europe sinks every day a bit more”.
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.