Erdogan hopes France will 'get rid of Macron' as soon as possible
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Istanbul (AFP) –
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday he hopes France will "get rid" of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron as soon as possible, in the latest salvo in an escalating war of words between the two leaders.
"Macron is a trouble for France. With Macron, France is passing through a very, very dangerous period. I hope that France will get rid of Macron trouble as soon as possible," Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
Turkey and France are embroiled in a series of disputes, from tensions in the eastern Mediterranean to the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.
And the spat has risen to new levels in recent months as France has moved to crack down on Islamist extremism after several attacks on French soil. Erdogan has repeatedly suggested that Macron get "mental checks" and urged the Turkish people to boycott French-labelled products.
On Friday Ergodan said France should get rid of Macron "otherwise they will not be able to get rid of yellow vests," referring to the protest movement that began in France in 2018.
"Yellow vests could later turn into red vests," Erdogan said, without elaborating.
Turkey and France are also at odds over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region of Azerbaijan populated by ethnic Armenians that broke away from Baku's control in a 1990s post-Soviet war.
Fresh fighting broke out in September, until a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal was sealed last month.
Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan.
France along with Russia and the United States co-chairs the Minsk Group, which has led talks seeking a solution to the conflict for decades but has failed to reach a lasting agreement.
Last month, the French Senate adopted a non-binding resolution calling on France to recognise Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.
Erdogan said that France had lost its "mediator role" in the Karabakh dispute.
"Why? You are a mediator but on the other side, you have passed a resolution in your parliament... about a region on which you are supposed to be a mediator," he said.
Erdogan also repeated comments from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that France should concede its southern city of Marseille to Armenia if it is so keen on establishing a state.
"I am making the same advice: if they are so keen, they should give Marseille to Armenians," Erdogan said. "It's as simple as that."
© 2020 AFP