France recalls ambassador to Turkey after Erdoğan questions Macron’s mental state

Macron’s office says ‘rudeness is not a method’ after Turkish president calls for counterpart to have ‘mental checks’

France said it would recall its envoy to Turkey for consultations following “unacceptable” comments by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that suggested his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, needed a mental health check-up.

In the highly unusual move, a French presidential official said the French ambassador to Turkey was being recalled from Ankara for consultations and would meet Macron to discuss the situation after Erdoğan’s outburst.

France and its NATO ally 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.

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.

“Macron needs mental treatment”, –  Erdoğan added, while indicating he did not expect the French leader to win a new mandate in 2022 elections.

Macron’s office responded sharply, calling the comments unacceptable.

“President Erdoğan’s comments are unacceptable. Excess and rudeness are not a method. We demand that Erdoğan change the course of his policy because it is dangerous in every respect”, –  the official told AFP.

The Elysee official, who asked not to be named, also said that France had noted “the absence of messages of condolence and support” from the Turkish president after the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty outside Paris.

The official also expressed concern over calls by Ankara for a boycott of French goods.

Macron this month described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide and said the government would present a bill in December to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France.

He announced stricter oversight of schooling and better control over foreign funding of mosques.


The Guardian