Erdogan calls on France to ‘get rid’ of Emmanuel Macron

Turkish president ramps up war of wars with his French counterpart

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he hopes France will “get rid” of Emmanuel Macron as soon as possible in the latest war of words between the two leaders.

The Turkish leader’s remarks come after his repeated suggestions in recent months that Mr Macron get “mental checks” after the French President vowed to crack down on Islamist extremism after attacks on French soil.

On Friday, Mr Macron was also accused of not doing enough to combat radicalisation as he struggles to convince Muslims that his policies are not also anti-Islam.

Mr Erdogan said France was in the midst of a “very, very dangerous period”.

"Macron is a trouble for France. With Macron, France is passing through a very, very dangerous period. I hope that France will get rid of Macron trouble as soon as possible," he said, after Friday prayers in Istanbul.

Turkey and France are embroiled in a series of disputes, from tensions in the eastern Mediterranean to the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The spat has risen to new levels after Mr Macron’s clampdown on radical Islam and Mr Erdogan’s call for a boycott of French-labelled products.

Mr Erdogan said France should get rid of Macron "otherwise they will not be able to get rid of yellow vests," referring to the protest movement that began in France in 2018.

"Yellow vests could later turn into red vests," he said, without elaborating.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 5, 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walk during a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on December 4, 2020, described his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron as "trouble" and said he hoped France would "get rid of him" as soon as possible, in the latest salvo in an escalating war of words between the two leaders. Turkey and France are embroiled in a series of disputes from tensions in the eastern Mediterranean to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. / AFP / LUDOVIC MARIN
Emmanuel Macron and Recep Tayyip Erdogan have had a difficult relationship in recent months. AFP

Turkey and France are at odds over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region of Azerbaijan populated by ethnic Armenians that broke away from Baku's control in a 1990s post-Soviet war.

Fresh fighting broke out in September, until a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal was sealed last month.

Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan.

France along with Russia and the US co-chairs the Minsk Group, which has led talks seeking a solution to the conflict for decades but which has so far failed to reach a lasting agreement.

Last month, the French Senate adopted a non-binding resolution calling on France to recognise Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.

Mr Erdogan said that France had lost its "mediator role" in the Karabakh dispute.

"Why? You are a mediator but on the other side, you have passed a resolution in your parliament ... about a region on which you are supposed to be a mediator," he said.

Mr Erdogan also repeated comments from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that France should concede its southern city of Marseille to Armenia if it is so keen on establishing a state.

"I am making the same advice: if they are so keen, they should give Marseille to Armenians," Mr Erdogan said.

"It's as simple as that."