Turkey attacks Macron's plan to fight radical Islam

By: AFP      Published: 08:05 PM, 5 Oct, 2020
Turkey attacks Macron's plan to fight radical Islam

Turkey on Monday condemned French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal to defend his country's secular values against radical Islam as a populist affront to Muslims.

The second successive day of Turkish anger at Macron's plan to "liberate Islam in France from foreign influences" adds to a growing list of disputes between the French leader and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Eighteen months before a French presidential election in which he is expected to face a challenge from the right, Macron last week described Islam as a religion "in crisis" worldwide.

Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a tweet that Macron's "dangerous and provocative" vision "encourages Islamophobia and anti-Muslim populism."

The ruling AKP party's spokesman Omer Celik tweeted that Macron's "talk about a 'French Islam' is a dictatorial approach and utter ignorance."

"Macron's point of view only provides ideological munitions to terror groups like the Islamic State."

And on Sunday, the Turkish foreign ministry said Macron's initiative would have "grave consequences rather than solve France's problems".

Turkish officials frequently attack Macron, who last year said NATO was showing signs of "brain death" by failing to stand up to Turkey's unilateral military intervention in Syria.

Macron and Erdogan are feuding about maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean, Libya, Syria and -- most recently -- the escalating conflict in Azerbaijan's Armenian separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Turkey is a majority Muslim but secular country which is a part of NATO but not the EU, where its membership bid has stalled for decades over a range of disputes.