Erdogan calls on Turks to boycott French goods

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ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Monday for Turks never to buy French goods and urged European Union leaders to halt French leader Emmanuel Macron’s “anti-Islam” agenda.

Erdogan said on Saturday Macron had a problem with Muslims and needed checks on his mental health – a rebuke that caused France to recall its ambassador from Ankara. He made similar comments the next day and again on Monday.

“Just like they say ‘Don’t buy good with Turkish brands’ in France, I am calling to all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them,” Erdogan said.

France is the 10th biggest source of imports into Turkey and the seventh biggest market for Turkey’s exports, according to Turkey’s statistical institute. Among major French imports, French autos are among the highest selling cars in Turkey.

Macron has pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, saying it was threatening to take over some Muslim communities in France. The country has since been shaken by the beheading of a teacher by an Islamist militant, avenging the use of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression.

European leaders must put an end to Macron’s “anti-Islam” agenda, Erdogan said in a speech at the start of a week of activities in Turkey to commemorate the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad.

Turkey and France are both members of the NATO military alliance, but have been at odds over issues including Syria and Libya, maritime jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean, and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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