The Economist cover
The Economist cover June 8th (Reuters/The Economist/Bridgeman)

Ankara has reacted angrily to a cover image in the Economist magazine that depicted the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as a sultan wielding a gas mask as "pathetic and ignorant".

Under the banner, "Democrat or sultan?", the renowned magazine of international politics and business news warned Erdogan to "heed Turkey's street protesters, not dismiss them".

An editorial suggested that he abandon his authoritarian style and prepare to pass leadership of his party, the Justice and Development party (AKP), to the more moderate president, Abdullah Gul.

But Egemen Bagis, minister of EU affairs in Turkey, criticised the Economist and said its cover was offensive.

"The Economist did it again. A Photoshop portrait, lots of hype and a long list of demands. I wonder when was the last time this paper used so many modal verbs - 'must' and 'should' - in an article while trying to dictate to Turkey and its democratically elected government," he said.

"And if not plainly pathetic and ignorant, the Economist's abuse of the sultan portrait is a thinly veiled and outrageous threat. The portrait that photo is based on was of Sultan Selim III. He was a reformist sultan who abolished the corrupt and unruly Yeniçeri army," he said.

Erdogan has moderated his stance and agreed to accept a court ruling that suspends demolition work on Istanbul's Gezi Park pending a government appeal.