Ruling AKP officials slam far-right Dutch politician over Erdoğan cartoon

Top officials from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Sunday slammed far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders for sharing a derogatory cartoon of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on social media.

Wilders, known for his anti-Islam rhetoric, earlier on Sunday shared cartoon of Erdoğan, where the Turkish president depicted donning a hat shaped as a bomb with the logo of his AKP. Wilders shared the image with the word “terrorist”.

"Europe's loser racists showed up again,’’ Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter. "Trying to exploit Islamophobia and xenophobia. Time has come to stop Europe’s spoiled politicians with fascist mindset.’’

Çavuşoğlu’s remarks arrive as a diplomatic row has erupted between France and Turkey over French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks over Islam and Muslims.

France recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations on Saturday after Erdoğan questioned Macron's mental condition while criticising his attitude toward the faith and its followers.

"What can one say about a head of state who treats millions of members from different faith groups this way: first of all, have mental checks," Erdoğan said, referring to plans announced by his French counterpart earlier this month to crack down on what he called Islamist separatism in the country after France was rocked by the beheading of a teacher, who used controversial caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

"Europe is an increasingly dangerous place for Muslims,’’ wrote Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on Twitter. "The dog-whistle politics of offensive caricatures, accusations of separatism against Muslims and mosque raids isn’t about freedom of expression.’’

The Erdoğan aide went on to say that certain European leaders were not just targeting Muslims, but Islam’s sacred values, scripture, prophet and the Muslim way of life.

AKP Spokesman Ömer Çelik was also among the party’s top officials, who took to social media to slam Wilders.

"The only reason they are attacking our president is that he stands with the oppressed in the name of humanity, without compromise," Çelik said. "We are proud that our president is attacked by these fascists that are enemies of humanity.’’

Wilders, the leader of the nationalist Party for Freedom (PVV), in a September 2017 tweet, called Prophet Muhammad a "paedophile, mass murderer, terrorist and madman," sparking outrage from Muslims across the world.