Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped France would get rid of Emmanuel Macron as soon as possible. The latest salvo in an escalating war of words between the two leaders.
Turkey has a series of disputes with France and its EU partners. From tensions in the eastern Mediterranean to the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The spat has risen to new levels in recent months. France has moved to crack down on extremism after several attacks on its soil.
“Macron is trouble for France. With Macron, France is passing through a very, very dangerous period. I hope that France will get rid of Macron trouble as soon as possible,” the president told reporters.
He said the French should dump Macron “otherwise they will not be able to get rid of yellow vests.” He was referring to the 2018 protest movement in France.
“Yellow vests could later turn into red vests,” Erdogan said, without elaborating.
According to the Turkish leader, Macron needs “mental checks.” He urged the Turkish people to boycott French-labelled products. Earlier, French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo also made a cartoon mocking Erdogan.
Turkey and France are also at odds over Nagorno-Karabakh. It is a region of Azerbaijan populated by ethnic Armenians. It broke away from Baku’s control in the 1990s post-Soviet war.
Fresh fighting broke out in September, leaving several thousand people dead, until a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal was sealed last month.
Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan.
How it all started?
In September, Macron made comments on the simmering eastern Mediterranean standoff. It pitted Turkey against Greece and the rest of the EU drew Ankara’s wrath.
“The people of Turkey, who are a great people, deserve something else,” Macron said while discussing Erdogan’s approach to the crisis.
France backs Greek claims in the row over the contested energy-rich waters, with Athens seeking EU sanctions to punish Ankara.
EU members will decide at a summit on December 10 whether to begin the process of applying sanctions against Turkey. Many states are not convinced.
“Turkey has a bellicose attitude towards its Nato allies,” Macron told Al-Jazeera in October. He condemned Turkey’s behavior in Syria, Libya, and the Mediterranean.
He said France’s wish was that things “calm down” but for this to happen, it is essential that the “Turkish president respects France, respects the European Union, respects its values, does not tell lies and does not utter insults”.
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