French President Emmanuel Macron
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Oct. 29 that it strongly condemns the deadly knife attack in the French city of Nice. A knife-wielding attacker shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) beheaded a woman and killed two other people at a church in Nice, while a gunman was shot dead by police in a separate incident.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that Western countries mocking Islam wanted to "relaunch the Crusades." "They literally want to relaunch the Crusades. Since the Crusades, the seeds of evil and hatred have started falling on these [Muslim] lands and that's when peace was disrupted," he said.
Turkey's opposition Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener urged the president to respond to "adolescent-like European leaders with statesmanship" instead of the "same adolescent attitude." The chairwoman's comments are in reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's brawl with French President Emmanuel Macron over the latter's strong stance against "Islamist separatism."
President Erdoğan has said that he didn't see the cartoon in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo about him, as Turkish authorities launched a probe into it for "insulting the president." "I didn't look at the cartoon even to see what they did because I don't give credit to this immoral publication. I don't need to say anything about these dishonorable individuals who insulted my dear prophet," Erdoğan said, referring to Charlie Hebdo's Prophet Mohammad cartoons.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called on NATO allies to stand shoulder-to-shoulder on values of tolerance and free speech, in a veiled rebuke to Turkey. "NATO allies and the wider international community must stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the fundamental values of tolerance and free speech, and we should never give terrorists the gift of dividing us," Raab said.
Top Turkish officials condemned a caricature scorning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Oct. 28. "We strongly condemn the publication concerning our President in the French magazine which has no respect for any belief, sacredness and values," presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın wrote on Twitter, while Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said that Macron's "anti-Muslim agenda is bearing fruit."
Portraying what should be a very simple choice concerning a struggle against genuine evil and crime as a clash of civilizations could help Erdoğan consolidate power in Turkey and possibly shift attention from the real problems of a troubled economy and declining quality of life. However, sooner or later, this misrepresentation of a shocking event could cost Turkish state and society dearly in the long run.
Leader of ruling People's Alliance member Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, babbled during his weekly speech at the party's group meeting as he forgot the word "cake." The chairman accused opposition parties of preparing to eat cake in Paris once he managed to speak again, possibly a reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's row with French President Emmanuel Macron.
France warned its citizens living or travelling in several Muslim-majority countries, including Turkey, to take extra security precautions on Oct. 27 as anger surged over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been one of the most vociferous critics of the French government, leading calls for a boycott of French goods.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "defamatory" remarks against French President Emmanuel Macron and voiced solidarity with Paris. “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 Seibert said.
President Erdoğan called on Oct. 26 for Turks to boycott French goods and urged the EU to stop French President Macron's "anti-Islam" agenda. "Just like they say 'Don't buy good with Turkish brands' in France, I am calling to all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them," Erdoğan said.
Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has said that Europe has turned into a dangerous place for Muslims. Saying that the treatment of Muslims in Europe today is reminiscent of “the demonization of the European Jewry in the 1920s,” Altun accused European leaders of attacking Muslims' values and leaders.
AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik has slammed French President Emmanuel Macron for "supporting hate crimes" with his new plan against "Islamist separatism." "With this approach, Macron supports hate crimes and not democracy and human rights. It only would provide ideological ammunition to terrorist groups like ISIS," Çelik said. "We invite all European democrats to stand against this totalitarian attempt," he added.
Like France, Turkey too is a secular republic. Secularism is one of constitutional principles that even to propose changing is banned. Yet, judging the paths taken by the two presidents Mr. Erdoğan and Mr. Macron they are going at almost diametrically opposite directions.
Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that the country is the target of "black propaganda" in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "It's apparent that Turkey's stance bothered some people and they turned the issue into black propaganda against Turkey out of fear," Kalın said. "These are the strategies to divert attention from the actual issue of occupation. Our presence there is within the scope of our military agreements and that's not new," he added.