Tensions in the Mediterranean to the conflict in Libya, via Nagorno-Karabakh, the subjects of disagreement are numerous between Turkey and France. The tension rose again a notch, this weekend, after a pass of arms between Paris and Ankara over the cartoons of Mohammed and the reaction of the French authorities after the attack which cost the life of the professor of history-geography Samuel Paty.
On Saturday, the Turkish president directly attacked his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron: “All that can be said of a head of state who treats millions of members of different religious communities in this way is:’Go for mental health exams first ’ “, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech. Two weeks ago, Mr. Erdogan denounced as provocation the statements of the French president on the “Islamist separatism” and the need to “Structuring Islam” in France, when the executive presented a bill on this subject.
Le Drian denounces “unacceptable behavior”
Sunday, October 25, the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, denounced on behalf of Turkey “A desire to stir up hatred” against France and its President Emmanuel Macron, stressing that the French Ambassador to Turkey, recalled ” for consultation “, as the saying goes, will be back this Sunday.
The recall of an ambassador is a rare diplomatic act and would be a first, it seems, in the history of Franco-Turkish relations. The previous recall of a French ambassador dates back to February 2019 when Paris wanted to protest against a meeting between Luigi Di Maio, then Italian deputy prime minister, and “yellow vests”.
From the plane which took him to Mali, the foreign minister blasted “Unacceptable behavior, a fortiori on the part of an allied country”. “In addition to the absence of any official mark of condemnation or solidarity on the part of the Turkish authorities after the terrorist attack in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in recent days has been added hateful and slanderous propaganda against France”, Le Drian said in a statement.
France noted a lack of solidarity from certain other countries, after the assassination of history and geography professor Samuel Paty, when he left the college where he taught in the Paris region, targeted by a Chechen Russian radicalized for showing cartoons of Muhammad in class in a free speech class.
Mr. Le Drian also denounced “Direct insults against the president [Emmanuel Macron], expressed at the highest level of the Turkish state “. “The French Ambassador to Turkey [Hervé Magro] has therefore been recalled and will be returning to Paris on Sunday October 25, 2020 for consultation ”, adds the minister.
EU calls on Turkey to end “this dangerous spiral”
For his part, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, denounced on Sunday “Unacceptable remarks” from the Turkish President. He called “Turkey to stop this dangerous spiral of confrontation”.
The words of the Turkish president had already been judged “Unacceptable”, Saturday, by the Elysée Palace, quoted by Agence France-Presse (AFP): “Outrageousness and rudeness are not a method. (…) We demand that Erdogan change the course of his policy because it is dangerous in every way. We do not enter into unnecessary controversy and do not accept insults. “ The French presidency also raised the “Very offensive statements [de Recep Tayyip Erdogan] in recent days, especially on the call for a boycott of French products “, as these calls multiply in the Middle East.
For Turkish presidency, cartoons aim to “intimidate” Muslims
Another response from Ankara on Sunday. A Turkish presidency official claimed on Twitter that the “Offensive cartoons” of the Prophet Muhammad were used to intimidate Muslims in Europe under the pretext of free speech.
Fahrettin Altun, director of communications for the presidency, accused Europe of demonizing Muslims. “The insidious policy of offensive cartoons, accusations of separatism against Muslims and raids of mosques are unrelated to freedom of expression,” Mr. Altun said in English on Twitter. “This is about intimidating Muslims and reminding them that they are welcome to continue to make the economy of Europe work, but that they will never be part of it – against the background of discourse on the ‘integration’, he added.
“Some European leaders today are not targeting only the Muslims among them. They attack our values and our sacred texts, our prophet and our political leaders – our whole way of life ”, added Mr. Altun. He said Europeans should realize that “Muslims won’t leave because you don’t want us. We are not going to turn the other cheek when you insult us. We will defend ourselves and our own at all costs ”.
He further argued that this attitude towards Muslims was “Strangely familiar” and looked like “The demonization of European Jews in the 1920s”.
Mr. Erdogan again attacked Emmanuel Macron on Sunday, reiterating his doubts about his mental health expressed on Saturday. In a televised speech, the Turkish president accused Mr. Macron of being “Obsessed with Erdogan day and night”. “He is, and as a result, he really needs to be tested.”, he added.
Numerous disputes between Paris and Ankara
This litigation comes on top of a long list of disagreements between MM. Macron and Erdogan. Tensions in the Mediterranean with Greece to the conflict in Libya, through the violence in Nagorno-Karabakh (where Turkey supports Azerbaijan against Armenia), many issues currently pit Paris and Ankara.
” Since [qu’il a mené] its offensive in Syria, France has repeatedly denounced the behavior of President Erdogan; the last few weeks have proved us right ”, the Elysée told AFP on Saturday.
France is also claiming again “That Turkey put an end to its dangerous adventures in the Mediterranean and in the region”, just as she denounces the “Irresponsible behavior” Ankara in Nagorno-Karabakh. “There are demands. Erdogan has two months to respond. Measures will have to be taken at the end of this year ”, specifies the Elysée about the Eastern Mediterranean.