Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called for a boycott of French products amid growing tensions between the two countries.
Erdoğan sparked a fierce backlash from European leaders this weekend when he questioned French President Emmanuel Macron’s mental health over his stance on Islam. The remarks have already prompted France to recall its ambassador to Ankara.
In a speech on Monday, the Turkish president doubled down — repeating his mental health comments about Macron, hitting out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, describing European countries as fascist and urging Turks not to buy French-made goods.
“Never give credit to French-labeled goods, don’t buy them,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey and the EU are at odds over a growing list of issues, in particular Ankara’s energy exploration efforts in waters internationally recognized as belonging to Greece and Cyprus. Macron has been particularly vocal in his criticism of Ankara; France and Turkey also back opposing sides in Libya.
On Saturday, Erdoğan lashed out at Macron over the French president’s remarks on radical Islam following the murder of a teacher who had shown his class caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Macron “needs mental treatment,” Erdoğan said.
He reiterated those words on Monday, saying: “These attacks [on Islam] have started with the encouragement of the leader of France, who is in need of mental checks.”
Erdoğan also criticized Merkel over a “police attack” on a German mosque, likely referring to a recent police raid on a Berlin mosque over suspected coronavirus subsidy fraud. “I am calling out to Chancellor Merkel, where do you have religious freedom?” he said, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
He then went on to say: “In some European countries, hostility toward Islam and Muslims has become a policy encouraged and supported at the level of the head of state … I am calling out from here, you are the real fascists, you essentially are links in the chain of Nazism.”
Meanwhile, more European politicians expressed solidarity with France on Monday.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called Erdoğan’s remarks unacceptable and said Germany would “stand with our French friends … especially in the fight against Islamist extremists.”
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said: “Personal abuse does not help the positive agenda that the EU wants to pursue with Turkey, but on the contrary pushes solutions away. Full solidarity with President Emmanuel Macron.”