- “I appeal to my people. Don’t ever pay attention to French brands. Don’t buy them.”
- On Saturday night, products from France were removed from supermarket shelves in a number of Muslim-majority countries.
- Macron was, on his part, supported by several European leaders.
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, implored the citizens of his country Monday not to buy products from France. His remarks came in retaliation for the strong position taken by France against Islamic groups, following the beheading of one of its teachers by a radical Muslim young man.
“I appeal to my people. Don’t ever pay attention to French brands. Don’t buy them,” Erdogan said at an event in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Monday.
On Saturday night, products from France were removed from supermarket shelves in a number of Muslim-majority countries, including Qatar and Jordan.
Videos on social networks showed emptied stores of French products in a concerted campaign to boycott French goods.
This campaign comes days after the French President, Emmanuel Macron, adopted a tough stance on Islam, and Muslims in general, following the beheading of a French teacher by a terrorist outside Paris. The teacher displayed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression.
In his communication, the Turkish President harshly criticized the spread of cartoons of Muhammad in France, and attacked Macron, accusing him of covering campaigns that affect Muslim commercial interests in Europe.
Over the weekend, Erdogan had already questioned the French President’s mental health several times, denouncing his views on Muslims following the assassination of the said history teacher, Samuel Paty.
Macron was, on his part, supported by several European leaders, notably Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who considered Erdogan’s attacks “unacceptable.”
“President Erdoğan’s remarks against President Emmanuel Macron are unacceptable. The Netherlands resolutely defend the common values of the European Union alongside France. For freedom of expression and against extremism and radicalism, ” he posted on Twitter.
On Sunday, the EU’s foreign minister, Josep Borrell, and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis , also expressed their support for Macron, and hit out at Erdogan over his remarks.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke Monday, considering “defamatory” the attacks made by the Turkish President against his French counterpart, according to a spokesman for the head of the German government.
“They are defamatory comments that are completely unacceptable, particularly against the backdrop of the horrific murder of the French teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist fanatic,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
On Monday, Erdogan again attacked European leaders, particularly Macron, for what he says is a hate campaign against Muslims. “European leaders should tell the French president to stop his hate campaign” said the Turkish President, in a message that could once again escalate tensions with France and the European Union.
Erdogan also compared the treatment given to Muslims in Europe to that given to Jews before World War II, accusing some European leaders of “fascism” and “Nazism.”