December 4, 2020

“It only gets further away from Europe”


With each passing day, the tension between the European Union and Turkey seems to grow. If Ankara has already been under observation for three weeks, when the EU gave Tayyip Erdogan two months, the Turkish president, to redirect the tension with Cyprus and Greece over their activities in the western Mediterranean, now the crisis has taken on new momentum with Erdogan’s attacks on French President Emmanuel Macron, followed by the announcement of a boycott of the products French. A new episode between the EU and Turkey, which already experienced difficult hours in February and March due to a crisis in which Brussels accused Turkey of not fulfilling the part of its agreement for not containing the migrants fleeing hunger and war in the Middle East to avoid crowding their Greek border.

Threats, boycotts and diplomatic crisis: Turkey leads the campaign against Macron after its response to the latest terrorist attack

Threats, boycotts and diplomatic crisis: Turkey leads the campaign against Macron after its response to the latest terrorist attack

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The European Commission itself reacted to the boycott on Tuesday. “The EU’s agreements with Turkey provide free trade in goods and products, so Turkey must comply with these agreements. Boycotts only move it further away from the EU,” a spokesman said at a press conference.

This episode comes just four days after Erdogan criticized Macron on Saturday for the measures he is taking against Islamist groups. “What problem does Macron have with Islam, what problem does he have with Muslims? Macron is in need of mental care therapy,” Erdogan said, just ten days after the murder of Professor Samuel Paty in the Paris region, after having shown cartoons of Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression.

As a result of that assassination, the French government closed a mosque and dissolved an Islamist group. “We have pointed out the enemy and explained the strategy. Those whose religion is Islam must be protected against radical Islam,” Macron said.

“What else can be said about a head of state who does not understand religious freedom, who acts in this way against millions of people of a different religion in his country? First a mind control,” Erdogan replied at the weekend.

Macron and Erdogan have had numerous disagreements in recent months due to Ankara’s intervention in Libya, in disputes over the territorial waters of Cyprus and Greece or, more recently, due to the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh in which Turkey is clearly aligned with Azerbaijan against Armenia.

But not only. Last December, at NATO’s 70th anniversary summit, Macron denounced Ankara’s lack of commitment to Article 5 of the Alliance, which provides for the defense of an ally against external attack. Ankara has assured that it will not support the Baltic countries – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – and Poland in the face of a hypothetical threat from Russia, if NATO does not recognize Turkey’s (Kurdish) enemies as terrorists: the Kurdish groups that Turkey is fighting its unilateral foray into Syria after the US withdrawal, also unilateral, from the Turkish border, a move that Macron did not like either. Macron’s complaint with Turkey also has to do with Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-missile system.

The Elysee responded to Erdogan’s words: “President Erdogan’s statements are unacceptable. Excesses and rudeness are not forms. We demand that Erdogan change his policy because it is dangerous from all points of view. We do not enter into pointless polemics and not we accept insults “.

On Sunday, Macron made a statement on a tweet in French, English and Arabic: “We will continue. We will always stand on the side of human dignity and universal values. We will continue. We respect all differences in a spirit of peace. We never accept speeches. of hatred and we defend reasonable debate. ”

Following Erdogan’s words, there has been a cascade of support for Macron from his European partners. The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said: “President Erdogan’s words about President Macron are unacceptable. Call on Turkey to stop this dangerous spiral of confrontation.”

Borrell also recalled that the conclusions approved at the European summit on October 1 and 2 “contain a real offer to relaunch our relationship, but a political will is needed from the Turkish authorities on this positive agenda. Otherwise, Turkey will be even more isolated “.

In a similar vein, the Austrian Chancellor, the popular Sebastian Kurz: “I condemn President Erdogan’s insults against President Macron, which show that Turkey is moving away from the EU and our common values.”

Similarly, the Dutch Prime Minister, the liberal Mark Rutte, on Monday called Erdogan’s words “unacceptable” and warned that the Netherlands “remains committed to the common values ​​of the European Union”, as well as to “freedom. of expression and against extremism and radicalism “.

Words similar to those used by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: “The comments directed by President Erdogan to President Macron are unacceptable. Personal invectives do not help the positive agenda that the European Union wants to maintain with Turkey, but instead on the contrary, they reject solutions. Total solidarity with President Emmanuel Macron. ”

All this tension between Erdogan and Macron also has to do with the French Government’s bill against Islamism, among whose measures is the dissolution of two associations supposedly linked to Islamic fundamentalism, Baraka City and the Collective against Islamophobia in France ( CCIF), in an offensive that has been accelerated after the murder of Professor Paty. The previous week, the French Government had already dissolved the Cheikh Yassine group, founded by one of the people accused of complicity with the young Chechen who on October 16 beheaded Paty.

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