Macron Vs. Erdo?an: EU Slams Turkish Leader for Calling for French Goods Boycott

Written by | Friday, October 30th, 2020

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has put himself at the forefront of a Muslim backlash against France’s handling of the recent events. Erdo?an did it with a string of headline-grabbing insults against French president Emmanuel Macron over the past few days. The Turkish president also called for a boycott of French produce over alleged Islamophobia, which was, according to a European Commission spokesman, “contrary to the spirit” of EU-Turkey trade accords and would “take Turkey even further away from the European Union”. While the Turkish lira’s slumped continued due to the dispute, the Saudi foreign ministry echoed Turkey, saying it “denounced” France’s “offensive” decision to defend the publication of Prophet Muhammed cartoons.
Rage is growing across majority-Muslim countries at the French president and his perceived attacks on Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, with the front page of a hardline Iranian newspaper referring to Macron as “Demon of Paris” and people in the streets of Dhaka denouncing him as a leader who “worships Satan”. Outside Baghdad’s French embassy, a likeness of Emmanuel Macron was burned along with France’s flag. The backlash has stoked historical and present-day grievances, cutting across an extraordinarily diverse Muslim world with a myriad of cultures, political systems, sects and levels of economic development. Tension has simmered since September when the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo republished cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad on the eve of a trial of 14 people accused of involvement in a terrorist attack against the publication’s offices in 2015 for publishing the same caricatures.
In response, the EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell intervened in the fast-growing dispute between the two sides, tweeting on Sunday (25 October) that Erdogan’s insults against Macron were “unacceptable,” and calling “on Turkey to stop this dangerous spiral of confrontation.” A European Commission spokesman said that member states are due to discuss future relations with Turkey at a summit in December and there were no plans to bring the meeting forward, but added that “this does not mean that we are not doing anything (on the current situation). We are analysing the situation and the Council has been extremely clear on what the EU expects of Turkey.” Meanwhile, France encouraged EU allies to adopt measures against Turkey on Tuesday (27 October), with trade minister Franck Riester telling MPs that “France is united and Europe is united. At the next European Council, Europe will have to take decisions that will allow it to strengthen the power balance with Turkey to better defend its interests and European values.”

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