France-Turkey tensions: Paris seeking ‘strong’ EU response, potentially sanctions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and French President Emmanuel Macron, right. (AP)

France is pushing for a “strong” European Union response to Turkey, including potential sanctions, over “provocations” from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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

Read more: US reiterates potential serious consequences for Turkey after Erdogan mocks sanctions

“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 in a class on freedom of expression.

Iraqi people gather during a protest against the publications of a cartoon of Prophet Mohammad in France and French President Emmanuel Macron's comments, outside the French embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, October 26, 2020. (Reuters)

Iraqi people gather during a protest against the publications of a cartoon of Prophet Mohammad in France and French President Emmanuel Macron's comments, outside the French embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, October 26, 2020. (Reuters)

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

On Monday, 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.”

European Union leaders take part in the first face-to-face EU summit since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brussels, Belgium July 17, 2020. (Reuters)

European Union leaders take part in the first face-to-face EU summit since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brussels, Belgium July 17, 2020. (Reuters)

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.

The United States told Al Arabiya English on Tuesday that “unnecessary” infighting between NATO allies “only serves our adversaries.”

The US, France, and Turkey are part 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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Last Update: Wednesday, 28 October 2020 KSA 20:03 - GMT 17:03
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