By Ece Toksabay
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey summoned Iran's ambassador on Thursday to demand a halt to Iranian media reports linking the execution of a Shi'ite cleric by Saudi Arabia with last week's visit to Riyadh by President Tayyip Erdogan.
"We strongly condemn the linking of our president's recent visit to Saudi Arabia to the executions sentenced in the country in stories published on media outlets linked to Iranian official bodies," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The statement also condemned remarks that directly accused President Erdogan, and said the publications aimed to create a negative image of him in the eyes of Iranian people.
A row has been raging for days between Shi'ite Muslim power Iran and the conservative Sunni kingdom since Saudi Arabia executed cleric Nimr al-Nimr, an opponent of the ruling dynasty who had demanded greater rights for the Shi'ite minority.
"It was stressed to the ambassador that the attacks on Saudi Arabian embassy and consulate in Tehran and Meshed were completely unacceptable and inexplicable," the statement read.
Last week, President Erdogan paid a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia, where he met King Salman bin Abdul Aziz for talks focused on the Syrian crisis and energy cooperation between the two countries.
(editing by Andrew Roche)