Turkey’s president sued an extreme-right-wing Greek newspaper that published a front-page headline laced with expletives against him, state news agency Anadolu reported on Monday.
A criminal complaint was lodged with the Ankara prosecutor’s office against the author of the article and three editors at Dimokratia newspaper, which published the piece on Friday.
The headline, in Turkish, read: “Siktir Git Mr Erdogan,” which means “piss off.” Alongside it was a photograph of the Turkish leader.
“Considering the silence of the Greek public, it is understood that this moral collapse is not limited to marginal segments,” read the complaint, according to Anadolu.
“Swearing is a great shame and a despicable act not for its interlocutor, but for those who say it,” the complaint continued.
Dimokratia has a circulation of a few thousand. The coverage triggered instant condemnation from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which summoned the Greek ambassador.
The Greek Foreign Ministry also condemned the insulting language used by the newspaper and said it did not reflect the country’s political culture.
“Insulting a foreign leader can only be a sign of despair and a lack of logic,” said Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan’s communications director, in a letter to Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas.
NATO members and neighbours Turkey and Greece have for weeks been sparring about natural gas reserves and maritime boundaries, with both claiming the right to prospect and drill for energy resources in the same part of the eastern Mediterranean.
Tensions were inflamed in July after Turkey sent a seismic research vessel into disputed waters.