Recall that in October Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his French counterpart “needs mental help” over politically controversial remarks on the spate of “Islamist terrorist attacks” that rocked France.
On Friday Erdogan is at it again, making statements to Turkish press following an Islamic prayer service essentially saying ‘Macron must go’.
“Macron is a burden on France. Macron and France are going through a very dangerous period actually. My hope is that France gets rid of the Macron trouble as soon as possible,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.
France and Turkey have clashed on a multitude of fronts, including the energy exploration issue impacting EU members Greece and Cyprus, as well as terrorism targeting Europe, policy in Libya, and even lately over the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Here’s his comments in context as related by Turkey’s Daily Sabah:
“Macron is trouble for France. My wish for France is to get rid of Macron as soon as possible. Otherwise, they will have to deal with the yellow vest protesters for longer, or ‘red vests’ may appear as well,” Erdoğan told reporters in front of the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul following Friday prayers.
Erdoğan said that he agrees with the suggestion of his Azerbaijani counterpart, President Ilham Aliyev, who called on France to give Marseille to the Armenians if they are so eager for the latter to have sovereignty.
Last week, the French Senate adopted a resolution urging the government to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent republic.
The earlier spat in October included Erdogan saying Macron needed “mental health checks” after the French leader’s criticism of global Islamic radicalism.
LIVE — Erdoğan: (French President Emmanuel) Macron is trouble for France. My wish for France is to get rid of Macron as soon as possible. Otherwise, they will have to deal with the yellow-vest protestors for longer, or “red vests” may appear as wellhttps://t.co/XltPO8ldlz pic.twitter.com/xAHpfBxQAY
— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) December 4, 2020
Erdogan said a that time according to Turkish media:
“What is Macron’s problem with Islam and Muslims? He needs mental health treatment,” Erdogan lashed out. He “does not understand freedom of belief.”
“What can be said to a head of state that treats millions of members of a religious minority in his country this way? First of all, (he needs) mental check,” Erdoğan added.
It all started with President Erdogan taking exception to how Emmanuel Macron characterized the brutal murder of middle school teacher Samuel Paty, beheaded outside Paris on October 16 by a young Chechen refugee angry the teacher had shown cartoon images of Muhammad.
President Macron had clearly defined it as an “Islamist terrorist attack” while urging France to resist such extremism “This is our battle and it is existential. They [terrorists] will not succeed … They will not divide us,” Macron had said in the days after the attack. “One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught… the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe,” he added. Macron further vowed to root out the radicals from French society.
This week French authorities have begun a major, unprecedented crackdown and investigation of up to 76 mosques believed to advance anti-French, hardline Islamic teaching and activities. Many are expected to be closed down.