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Italy says Turkish president Erdogan comments on Macron ‘unacceptable’

Published: Updated:

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Monday that comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about France’s President Emmanuel Macron were “unacceptable” and he expressed “solidarity” with Paris.

“President Erdogan’s words to President Macron are unacceptable,” Conte said on Twitter as tensions between Paris and Ankara escalate over Islam and freedom of speech.

Read more: Macron tweets in Arabic that France ‘will never give in’ amid Prophet cartoon storm

“Personal invective does not help the positive agenda that the EU wants to pursue with Turkey but, on the contrary, pushes solutions away,” he said in a tweet in French, expressing his “full solidarity” with Macron.

Erdogan has rounded on Macron over his robust defense of the right to mock religion following the murder of a French schoolteacher who had shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Ankara, Turkey, January 13, 2020. (Reuters)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Ankara, Turkey, January 13, 2020. (Reuters)

Depictions of the Prophet Mohammed are seen as offensive by many Muslims, but in France such cartoons are seen as part of a proud anticlerical tradition dating back to the Revolution.

Erdogan on Monday compared the treatment of Muslims in Europe to that of Jews before World War II, saying they were the object of a “lynching campaign.”

“You are in a real sense fascists, you are in a real sense the links in the chain of Nazism,” he said, calling on Europe to end its “Macron-led hate campaign” against Muslims.

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