Turkey rejects Macron’s claim of election ‘interference’
Turkey has condemned Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments targeting Ankara as “unacceptable,” after the French president warned the Turkish government not to meddle in his country’s next presidential election.
Macron told French television this week that Turkey was “playing on public opinion” and spreading “lies” in France through the use of state-controlled media, in the latest of diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Thursday that Macron’s “unjust and inconsistent” statements were “unacceptable and contrary to the friendship and alliance between our countries”.
He added that Macron’s “dangerous” claims with “certain judgements” that Ankara would interfere in France’s presidential election next year were alienating foreign-origin communities living in the country.
“Turkey doesn’t have any agenda on France’s domestic politics except prosperity, peace and harmony of the Turkish community with approximately 800,000 people living in the country,” Aksoy said.
The spokesman said that Turkey also expects Paris not to make Ankara an item of French domestic politics especially at the time of elections.
“We think that those statements by Mr Macron are unfortunate and inconsistent at a time we take steps to replace the tension in the relations between the two countries with calm and friendship,” Aksoy added.
Meanwhile, reacting to Macron’s remarks, Omer Celik, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, told reporters that such an approach “shadows bilateral relations”.
Ties between Ankara and Paris have been battered by disputes over the conflicts on Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh, and Turkish accusations of Islamophobia in France.
Macron’s latest comments extended his running feud with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has seen the two leaders trade barbs while opposing each other in regional conflicts.
Their dispute hit a low late last year when Erdogan told Macron to undergo “mental checks” and urged France to “get rid of” its president, as tensions rose between the leaders over a controversial French law.
Critics say the law, adopted after violent attacks in the country, is discriminatory against France’s nearly six-million-strong Muslim community, the largest in Europe.
Months earlier, Macron had suggested that the Turkish people “deserve something else” than the policies of Erdogan.
Turkey announced in January that Macron and Erdogan had exchanged personal letters, in what Ankara billed as an attempt to get relations back on track.