France Recalls Its Ambassador to Turkey as Erdogan Claims Macron Needs 'Mental Checks'
17:51 GMT 24.10.2020(updated 18:49 GMT 24.10.2020)
The development follows Turkish President Erdogan's harsh reaction towards new measures that his French counterpart announced in response to the beheading of a school teacher by a Muslim refugee for showing Prophet Muhammad cartoons to pupils in a Paris suburb.
On Saturday, Paris recalled its ambassador to Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, has to undergo "mental checks" because of his treatment of "millions of members" of France's Muslim community.
"President Erdogan's comments are unacceptable. Outrage and insult are not a method," Macron's office said in a statement, following the heated address by the Turkish president.
A French presidential official, who did not disclose his name, described Erdogan's tirade in a comment to AFP as "excess and rudeness", adding that Paris demands the Turkish president "change the course of his policy because it is dangerous in every respect".
Erdogan delivered his fiery remarks about Macron in Turkey's central Anatolian city of Kayseri on Saturday. Speaking in a televised address, the Turkish president condemned his French counterpart for injust treatment of Muslims, stressing that Macron needs mental treatment.
"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 stressed. "What's the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims?"
Macron has recently called Islam a religion "in crisis", directing the French government to come up with new legislation to bolster a 1905 law separating church and state in the country. He also refused to denounce the Prophet Muhammad cartoons and vowed to keep defending civil liberties in the wake of the killing of a school teacher outside the French capital.
French history teacher Samuel Paty was decapitated days before the announcement by an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to schoolchildren in a Paris suburb. According to the French authorities, the perpetrator was born in Moscow in 2002 and was brought to France in 2008 as a child. He was granted refugee status in France.
In the wake of the killing, which Macron dubbed a "terrorist attack", the French government has ordered a series of steps to be taken to tackle the Islamist threat.
The death of Paty, 47, triggered a wave of protests across France, swiftly becoming the symbol of Paris' struggle to deal with Islamist terrorism.
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