French president Emmanuel Macron has warned that Turkey’s government, led by Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will make attempts to interfere in next year’s presidential elections.
“Obviously, there will be attempts at interference for the next election. They’re written, and the threats are not veiled,” President Macron said in a television interview, which is part of a documentary on President Erdogan.
Macron went on to criticise Turkey for “a policy of state lies relayed by press outlets controlled by the Turkish state”, according to Le Figaro, and mentioned “some major channels controlled by Qatar”.
The French and Turkish presidents have been at odds for months over several issues, such as Macron’s crackdown on political Islamist groups in the wake of teacher Samuel Paty’s beheading by an Islamist Chechen refugee in October.
Turkey’s Erdogan Questions Sanity of France’s Macron over Attitude to Muslimshttps://t.co/hlsVEukSrE
— Simon Kent (@sunsimonkent) October 25, 2020
Erdogan went as far as questioning President Macron’s mental capacity last year, saying: “Macron needs treatment on a mental level. What else can be said to a head of state who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith?”
France and Turkey have also been in conflict over the latter’s activity in the Eastern Mediterranean last year, after the Muslim-majority country sent a research ship to conduct seismic surveys in Greek waters claimed by Turkey.
Macron mentioned the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean during his interview, saying: “France has been very clear. When there were unilateral acts in the Eastern Mediterranean, we condemned them and acted by sending frigates.”
“We need to clarify Turkey’s place in NATO,” Macron also said, and added: “We need a dialogue with Turkey. We must do everything we can to ensure that it does not turn its back on Europe and no longer moves towards religious extremism or makes damaging geopolitical decisions.”
Millions of migrants also remain in Turkey since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, with Macron noting: “If they [the Turks] open the doors, you will have three million Syrian refugees arriving in Europe.”
Indignant: Turkey on Warpath over New Charlie Hebdo Erdogan Cartoon https://t.co/UJ9eryKHPH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 28, 2020