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."
The cartoon could further heighten tensions between Turkey and France, which erupted over French President Emmanuel Macron's firm stance against Islamism following the beheading of a teacher who showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad for a free speech class.
Leaders from around the Muslim world also added their voices to criticism of what they see as attacks on Islam in the West, while France vowed not to back away from its defense of the freedom of expression.
The cartoons that led to the teacher’s death were the same drawings that were at the center of a deadly 2015 extremist attack on Charlie Hebdo’s staff.
The Prophet Muhammad cartoons upset many in the Muslim world. But it was Erdogan who led the charge against France and questioned Macron's mental state. France then recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations, a first in French-Turkish diplomatic relations.
"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.
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.
Erdogan himself said he had not looked at the drawing and had nothing to say about the "dishonorable" publication.
Tensions between France and Turkey have mounted in recent months over Turkish actions in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus Mountains region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The cartoon depicted Erdogan in his underwear holding a drink and lifting the skirt of a woman wearing an Islamic dress.