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Turkey's Erdogan calls for boycott of French goods

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday joined calls for a boycott of French goods, ramping up a standoff between France and Muslim countries over Islam and freedom of speech.

Also read: France reacts after Erdogan questions Macron’s mental health

Mr. Erdogan has led the charge against President Emmanuel Macron over his robust defence of the right to mock religion following the murder of a French schoolteacher who had shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

‘Mental checks needed’

On Monday, the Turkish leader added his voice to calls in the Arab world for citizens to spurn French goods.

“Never give credit to French-labelled goods, don’t buy them,” Mr. Erdogan, who caused a furore at the weekend by declaring that Macron needed “mental checks,” said during a televised speech in Ankara.

Also read: France reacts to boycott calls; Erdogan ups Macron insults

French goods have already been pulled from supermarket shelves in Qatar and Kuwait, among other Gulf states, whereas in Syria people have burned pictures of Mr. Macron and French flags have been torched in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The October 16 beheading of high-school teacher Samuel Paty by a Chechen extremist caused deep shock in France.

Paty had shown his pupils some of the Mohammed cartoons over which 12 people were massacred at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015.

Also read: Turkey hits out at France over sea stand-off

In the aftermath of Paty’s murder, Mr. Macron issued a passionate defence of free speech and France’s secular values, vowing that the country “will not give up cartoons.”

As the backlash over France’s reaction widened, European leaders rallied behind Macron.

European support

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Erdogan’s “defamatory” remarks about the French leader.

The Prime Ministers of the Netherlands and Greece also expressed support for France, as did European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Also read: Emmanuel Macron says Islam ‘in crisis’, unveils anti-radicalism plan

Mr. Erdogan on Monday compared the treatment of Muslims in Europe to that of Jews before Second World War, saying they were the object of a “lynching campaign.”

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 11:54:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/turkeys-erdogan-calls-for-boycott-of-french-goods/article32944750.ece

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