In a sign of rising tensions, Paris recalled its envoy to Ankara for consultations amid fears for the safety of French citizens living in Turkey and the Middle East. France has also called for an end to the boycott of French products as part of the recent provocations between the two countries. Tensions between the pair have intensified in recent months over issues that include the fighting in Syria and Libya, as well as Ankara’s natural gas exploration off the coasts of Cyprus and Greece.
In explosive interventions last weekend, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan took aim at his French counterpart.
In an address to his Justice and Development Party on Saturday, he said: “Macron needs some sort of mental treatment. What else is there to say about a head of state who doesn’t believe in the freedom of religion and behaves this way against the millions of people of different faiths living in his own country?”
And in a speech on national television on Sunday, he added: “The person in charge of France has lost his way.
“He goes on about Erdogan while in bed and while awake. Look at yourself first and where you’re going. I said yesterday…he is a case, and he really must be examined.”
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian immediately denounced the “hateful and slanderous propaganda against France”.
In a statement, he accused Turkey of “showing a wish to fan hate against and among us”.
Turkey’s latest insult came after President Macron announced a crack down on radicalism in the wake of the beheading of school teacher Samuel Paty in Paris.
European Union chiefs leapt to France’s defence as the row with Turkey escalated.
Foreign policy boss Josep Borrell branded President Erdogan’s words “unacceptable”.
The EU’s top diplomat said: “I call on Turkey to stop this dangerous spiral of confrontation.”
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Mr Schinas replied: “Sorry to disappoint you but this is our way of life as defined in our Treaty. The European Way of Life.”
Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt said: “Extremism is the foe of freedom.
“What Emmanuel Macron said has nothing to do with islamophobia. He’s defending freedom of speech and thought and religion for all. And rightly so!
“Only freedom can bring all citizens together.”