France ambassador to return to Turkey amid tensions

France ambassador to return to Turkey amid tensions
2 min read
01 November, 2020
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the ambassador to Ankara will return to chase up clarification on recent statements made by Turkey.
France and Turkey have been engaging in a tit-for-tat in recent weeks [Getty]
France is due to return its ambassador to Turkey, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday, after weeks of increasing tensions between the two countries.

Paris' ambassador is expected to follow up on requests for clarification from Ankara for recent statements made by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The ambassador was summoned due amid tit-for-tat criticism between Erdogan and France's President Emmanuel Macron after the latter defended the publishing of offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Erdogan was one of the few Muslim world leaders who took a clear stance on Macron’s anti-Islam remarks and called on Muslims worldwide to boycott French products.

Erdogan also suggested Macron needed his head examined.

In recent weeks, Macron has been at the centre of controversy in a revived debate about freedom of expression, Islam and France's treatment of its Muslim minority groups.

The French president recently defended re-published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, sparking a backlash from Muslims around the world.

He has also been accused of persecuting Muslims in France, with French authorities currently cracking down on Muslim NGOs under a new 'separatism' law that has been criticised as curtailing civil liberties.

The issue of religious extremism has come to the fore as France reels from October 16 beheading of teacher Samuel Paty by a suspected Islamist radical from Russia's region of Chechnya.

Read more: Calls for France boycott gain momentum as Qatar supermarkets shun French produce

The teacher had shown a class a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in the wake of the controversy generated by the reprinting by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo of the caricatures to mark the beginning of the trial of suspects over the massacre of its staff in January 2015.

Even before that attack, Macron had promised a tough new campaign against Islamist radicalism which had aroused controversy and condemnation from Muslims around the world.

Protests erupted on Friday in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Mauritania and Lebanon, the latest in a string of mass rallies denouncing France.

World leaders have also weighed in on the matter, with Macron and Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan trading barbs and insults in recent days.

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