Islamic backlash, boycotts of France grow

Source: AFP Published: 2020/10/27 15:48:41

Turkey ramps up standoff after fiery freedom of speech fight in Paris

Workers at a supermarket in the Jordanian capital Amman remove French products from shelves during a boycott of French goods on Monday. Photo: AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday joined calls for a boycott of French goods, ramping up a standoff between France and Muslim countries over Islam and freedom of speech.

Erdogan has led the charge against French President Emmanuel Macron over his robust defense of the right to mock religion following the murder of a French school teacher who had shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

On Monday, the Turkish leader added his voice to calls in the Arab world for citizens to spurn French goods.

"Never give credit to French-labelled goods, don't buy them," Erdogan, who caused a furor at the weekend by declaring that Macron needed "mental checks," said during a televised speech in Ankara.

After Turkey was accused by France of remaining silent over Paty's killing on October 16, Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Monday denounced the "monstrous murder," adding "nothing" could justify the attack.

French goods have already been pulled from supermarket shelves in Qatar and Kuwait, among other Gulf states, whereas in Syria, people have burned pictures of Macron and French flags have been torched in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The October 16 beheading of high-school history teacher Samuel Paty by a Chechen extremist caused deep shock in France.

In the aftermath of Paty's murder, Macron issued a passionate defense of free speech and France's secular values, vowing that the country "will not give up cartoons."

As the backlash over France's reaction widened, European leaders rallied behind Macron.

"They are defamatory comments that are completely unacceptable, particularly against the backdrop of the horrific murder of the French teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist fanatic," German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

The prime ministers of Italy, the Netherlands and Greece also expressed support for France, as did European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.



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