Turkey’s Erdogan calls for boycott of French goods after Macron’s ‘anti-Islam’ comments

·2-min read
‘I am calling to all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them,’ said Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)
‘I am calling to all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them,’ said Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Turks to boycott French goods in the latest escalation of a row over the beheading of a teacher in Paris.

The Turkish president has claimed his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, is perpetrating an “anti-Islam” agenda by criticising the faith’s radical adherents in the wake of the killing.

Samuel Paty was beheaded in an Islamist terror attack earlier this month, after showing depictions of the prophet Muhammad to students in a lesson about freedom of expression.

Following the murder, Mr Macron said that Islam was “in crisis” around the world and that he would take steps to protect both France and Muslims from a subset of extremists. He said he wanted new laws to “defend the republic and its values and ensure it respects its promise of equality and emancipation”.

Mr Macron also praised Paty, 47, as a “quiet hero” who embodied the ideals of the French state.

At a religious event on Monday at Turkey’s presidential complex, Mr Erdogan said: “Just like they say, ‘Don't buy goods with Turkish brands’ in France, I am calling to all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them.”

France is the 10th biggest source of imports into Turkey and the seventh biggest market for Turkey’s exports, according to Turkey’s statistical institute.

Mr Erdogan’s comments followed other, more personal remarks directed at the French leader over the weekend. “Macron needs treatment on a mental level,” he said on Saturday.

On Monday, Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas backed Mr Macron and said the Turkish president’s remarks constituted a new low. Though allies, Mr Macron and Mr Erdogan have had a fraught relationship, clashing again this summer as diplomatic relations between Greece and Turkey soured and France sided with Athens.

The leaders of Islamic countries have also joined the rhetorical attack on Mr Macron, after the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Muhammad were projected onto local civic offices in Toulouse and Montpellier. Morocco’s government said in a statement that it believed people in France were not free to express views that offended Muslims.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Imran Khan called on Facebook to ban Islamophobic posts and claimed that Mr Macron’s plans would “lead to further polarisation and marginalisation of Muslims in France”. He further claimed Muslims were the victims of a “pogrom” similar to the Holocaust.

A push for a boycott of French products was also in evidence in Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar.

Additional reporting by agencies

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