France Recalls Ambassador to Ankara After Erdogan Tirade

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

France recalled its ambassador in Ankara after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the French president needed “mental treatment,” and criticized Emmanuel Macron’s policy toward Islam.

Such “excess” and “coarseness” on the part of Erdogan are “unacceptable,” Macron’s office said in a statement Saturday, highlighting that it’s the first time a top diplomat has been recalled from the country.

“We demand that Erdogan changes the course of his policy because it’s dangerous,” noted the statement.

Ankara has been particularly incensed by a campaign championed by Macron to protect France’s secular values against radical Islam, a debate given new impetus by the murder of a teacher who showed his class a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed.

“What can one say about a head of state who treats millions of members from different faith groups this way: first of all, have mental checks,” Erdogan said in a televised address in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri.

“What’s the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims?” Erdogan asked.

“Macron needs mental treatment,” Erdogan added.

France and Turkey are at loggerheads over a range of issues, including maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean, Libya, Syria and the escalating conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.