A diplomatic row has developed between France and Turkey. Turkish President Erdogan in a TV speech today questioned the mental health of his French counterpart Macron. France responded by recalling its ambassador from Ankara.
Erdogan strongly criticized Macron’s attitude to Muslims. In the aftermath of the terror attack on a French teacher last week, the government in Paris has taken measures against Islamic schools and associations.
“What is Macron’s problem with Islam and Muslims?” The Turkish president wondered aloud. “He needs psychological help.” Erdogan states that the French government is engaged in a witch hunt against Muslims.
Macron said earlier this month that Islam is a religion in crisis worldwide. The president plans to introduce a bill to further strengthen the separation between church and state in France. He also promises to tackle Muslim extremism harder.
‘Have been upset for years’
The French government says Erdogan’s words are unacceptable. Correspondent Frank Renout explains that the fight is anything but exceptional.
President Macron and his Turkish colleague have actually been at odds with each other for years. The war in Syria, the violence in Libya, the Turkish-Greek conflict, the recent battle between Azerbaijan and Armenia: there is always an altercation between France and Turkey. It almost seems like a personal conflict between the two. “
Call for boycott
But criticism of Macron and France does not only come from Turkey. There is also controversy in other Islamic countries about the harsh, French approach of Islamic authorities. This criticism also focuses on the projection of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on buildings. The controversial cartoons of the weekly Charlie Hebdo could be seen on Wednesday evening on the facades of the town halls of Montpellier and Toulouse. The local authorities wanted to show their solidarity with this.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), of which 57 countries are members, condemns the display of these cartoons on government buildings. In Morocco, Kuwait and Pakistan, among others, calls have been made via social media for a boycott of French products.
For example, the hashtag ‘our prophet is a red line’ was trending on Twitter in Morocco. “But there is not (yet) a massive response to this,” says correspondent Samira Jadir. “The people here hate what happened to the teacher in France. But they criticize France’s reaction to this. Especially the colonial sentiment is mentioned here.” Morocco has pulled French newspapers from the shelves that featured the cartoon.
In the Gulf states of Kuwait and Qatar, French products are actually being removed from the shelves, supermarket groups tell Gulf News. The Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also reacted with dismay to the showing of the cartoons.