Erdogan’s remarks about Macron’s mental health and his call for a boycott of French goods made him a prime target for Charlie Hebdo.
Turkey’s foreign minister said Wednesday the country will take legal action against the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons depicting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Charlie Hebdo unveiled its October 28 cover on Tuesday. The cartoon shows a pot-bellied Erdogan sitting in a recliner and lifting the dress of a veiled woman carrying a tray of wine.
“He’s very funny in private!” the magazine’s headline reads in French.
Erdogan filed a criminal complaint on Wednesday against Charlie Hebdo in response to the insult, according to Anadolu Agency.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevult Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara, “We will follow the diplomatic and legal process of this both in France and internationally as well, as an investigation is initiated already [in Turkey].”
Cavusoglu also told a reporter that Turkey does not intend to recall its ambassador to Paris, saying, “We are in constant consultation over the phone.”
Turkey’s national communications director Fahrettin Altun also responded to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Erdogan on Twitter: “French President Macron’s anti-Muslim agenda is bearing fruit!”
The rift between France and Turkey is on full display as the Turkish leader responds to what he perceives to be Macron’s scapegoating of Islam since September.
On September 3, to mark the trial of the suspects involved in the January 2015 shooting at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, the magazine republished offensive caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Macron voiced his support for the decision and denounced “Islamic separatism” in France.
A few weeks later, on September 25, assailants stabbed two people outside the former Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. A suspect admitted he wanted to set the building on fire.
Macron responded to the attack by saying Islam is “in crisis all over the world” on October 2. He renewed vows to fight “Islamist separatism” and “strengthen secularism in France” by freeing Islam in the country from “foreign interference.”
Erdogan called Macron’s remarks a “clear provocation.”
On October 16, an 18-year-old Chechen student named Abdoullakh Anzorov beheaded middle school teacher Samuel Paty, who displayed Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of speech.
During a memorial service for Paty on October 21, Macron said the teacher “was killed because the Islamists want our future. They know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it.”
Erdogan again responded to Macron’s statements, saying the French president “needs mental checks.”
“What is Macron’s problem with Islam? What is his problem with Muslims? He needs mental checks. What else can we say to a president who does not understand freedom of belief and behaves in this way with millions of members from different faiths living in his own country?”
France, in turn, said Erdogan’s remarks were “unacceptable,” recalling its ambassador in Turkey for consultations.
Erdogan then urged Turks to boycott French products, joining a campaign that is picking up fervor in the Muslim world.
“I call on our people to never buy French products,” Erdogan said Monday in Ankara. “Just like they say ‘Don’t buy good with Turkish brands’ in France, I am calling on all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them.”