France-Turkey tensions: Erdogan’s rhetoric of ‘violence’ unacceptable, says French FM

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s declarations of “violence” and “hatred” are unacceptable, France’s foreign minister said Thursday.

“There are now declarations of violence, even hatred, which are regularly posted by President Erdogan, which are unacceptable,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview with Europe 1 radio.

Read more: Beheading in Nice church the latest in France’s recent history of attacks

France is currently pushing for a “strong” European Union response to Turkey, including potential sanctions, over “provocations” by Erdogan.

The country’s minister for European affairs said last week that it is exhorting its EU partners to take action against Ankara.

“We need to go further... We will push for strong European responses, which could include sanctions,” said Clement Beaune in an address to parliament.

Erdogan has lashed out at French President Emmanuel Macron in recent days following Macron’s response to the beheading of a teacher in France by an extremist over the use of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Read more: US weighs in on France-Turkey tensions: NATO ‘infighting only serves adversaries’

Macron has said that France will not give up caricatures and that the teacher was killed “because Islamists want our future,” vowing “they will never have it.”

Last week, Erdogan responded in a provocative speech that accused Macron of having both an “anti-Islam agenda” and mental problems. France recalled its ambassador from Ankara over the comments.

The Turkish president also went on to urge Turks “never” to buy French brands and said that Muslims in Europe are being treated like Jewish people before World War II.

European leaders including the prime minister of Italy have condemned Erdogan’s statements as “unacceptable.”

The latest flareup between Erdogan and Macron is just one incident in a series of bilateral clashes over issues including the conflict in Libya, the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, and maritime control in the eastern Mediterranean.

France and Turkey are both members of the 29-member international military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was founded to create a counterweight to the Soviet Union’s military capabilities at the time the organization was established in 1949.

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