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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey rejects Macron's claim of election 'interference'

Macron told French television that Turkey was spreading "lies" in France [AFP]

Date of publication: 24 March, 2021

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Turkey condemned French President Emmanuel Macron's claim that Ankara plans to interfere in France's next presidential election.

Turkey on Wednesday condemned French President Emmanuel Macron's "unacceptable" warning that Ankara was meddling in France's next presidential election.

Macron told French television this week that Turkey was "playing on public opinion" and spreading "lies" in France though the use of state-controlled media.

"There will be attempts at interference in the next (French) presidential elections" in 2022, Macron said.

The Turkish foreign ministry said it found Macron's words "unacceptable and contrary to the friendship and alliance between our countries".

Macron's 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" their president, as tensions rose over a French law clamping down on radical Islam.

Months earlier, Macron had suggested that the Turkish people "deserve something else" than the policies of Erdogan.

The Turkish statement on Wednesday said Macron's "dangerous" comments threatened to alienate France's 800,000-strong Turkish community.

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.

The foreign ministry said Macron's latest comments undermined Turkish attempts to mend ties.

"We think that these statements of Mr Macron are unfortunate and inconsistent when we are taking steps to replace tension... with calm and friendship," the Turkish ministry said.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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