A diplomatic riot has arisen between France and Turkey. In a TV speech today, Turkish President Erdogan called into question the mental health of his French counterpart Macron. France responded by recalling its ambassador from Ankara.
Erdogan criticized Macron‘s attitude towards Muslims. In the wake of the terrorist attack on a French teacher last week, the government in Paris took measures against Islamic schools and associations.
“ What is Macron’s problem with Islam and Muslims?”, the Turkish president wondered aloud. “He needs psychic help.” Erdogan argues that the French government is engaged in a witch hunt against Muslims.
Macron said earlier this month that Islam is a religion that is in crisis worldwide. The President intends to submit a legislative proposal to further strengthen the separation between church and state in France. He also promises to tackle Muslim extremism harder.
“Been overhoped for years.”
The French Government calls Erdogan‘s words unacceptable. Correspondent Frank Renout explains that the quarrel is anything but exceptional.
“ President Macron and his Turkish colleague have been messed up for years. The war in Syria, the violence in Libya, the Turkish-Greek conflict, the recent struggle 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 just sound from Turkey. In other Islamic countries, too, there is a fuss about the harsh French approach to Islamic authorities. This criticism also focuses on projecting the Prophet Muhammad’s cartoons onto buildings. The controversial cartoons of weekly Charlie Hebdo appeared on the facades of the town halls of Montpellier and Toulouse on Wednesday evening. The local authorities wanted to show their solidarity.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to which 57 countries are affiliated, condemns the display of these cartoons on government buildings. In Morocco, Kuwait and Pakistan, for example, social media calls 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 that,” says correspondent Samira Jadir. “The people here find it horrible what happened to the teacher in France. But do dislike the reaction of France to this. Especially the colonial sentiment is mentioned here.” Morocco has taken French newspapers off the shelves showing the cartoon.
In the Gulf States of Kuwait and Qatar, French products are actually being removed from the shelves, supermarket groups say to Gulf News. The Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reacted with dismay to the display of the cartoons.