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Turkish comments on France ‘unacceptable,’ Champagne says after Erdogan calls for boycott

Paris: Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on Tuesday called Ankara’s statements with regard to France “unacceptable,” calling for respectful dialogue amid increased tensions between Paris and Turkey.

“We stand in solidarity with our French friends. Turkey’s recent comments about France are totally unacceptable. We must return to respectful diplomatic exchanges. We will always stand together to defend freedom of expression with respect,” Champagne wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Turkish citizens to boycott French goods amid bilateral tensions over French President Emmanuel Macron’s statements against radical Islam.

Franck Riester, France’s Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, said on Monday that France had no intention to restrict imports of Turkish goods following Erdogan’s calls for a boycott. A number of other Muslim countries have also called for such a boycott.

On Sunday, Paris condemned Ankara’s strong-worded reaction to Macron’s statement against radical Islam and recalled its ambassador from Turkey for consultations.
On October 21, Macron delivered a speech during a commemoration ceremony for French history teacher Samuel Paty, who was brutally murdered by a radicalized teen. The president urged to “free Islam in France from the foreign influence and strengthen control on the mosques’ funding,” and stressed that France would continue to defend freedom of expression and step up battle against radical Islam.

On Saturday, Erdogan said that the French president disrespected millions of French Muslim citizens and “needed mental treatment.” He added that “manifestation of hostility to Islam means hostility to Turkey.”

Macron said on Twitter on Sunday that “we will not give in, ever,” adding, nonetheless, that France respected “all differences in a spirit of peace” but hate speech was unacceptable.

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