Erdogan slams Macron amid escalating Muhammad cartoon row, French boycott

Ankara/Amman, Oct 26 (efe-epa).- Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday urged his compatriots to boycott French products amid an escalating row over comments made by his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in which he defended the right to publish caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.

Images of the prophet are considered deeply offensive by many Muslims and are widely seen as taboo in Islam.

Speaking at a national tribute last week to honor Samuel Paty, a teacher who this month was brutally murdered by a radical Islamist for showing caricatures of the prophet published by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during class as part of a lesson on freedom of expression, Macron said, “we will not give up our cartoons”. He has previously called Islam “a religion in crisis”.

The comments have triggered a wave of condemnation across the Muslim world, with many, including Erdogan, calling for a complete boycott of French goods.

“Here I call out to my people, don’t ever compliment French brands, don’t buy them,” Erdogan said during a televised address.

Erdogan accused Macron and other European leaders of helping foster an environment of intolerance and bigotry towards Muslims in the West.

“Especially across European countries, we see that hostility to Islam and Muslims spread through societies like the plague. Places of business, houses, places of worship, and schools which belong to Muslims are attacked by racists and fascist groups almost every day.”

The Turkish president urged Europe’s legislators to “stop the hate campaign” led by Macron, warning that hateful rhetoric only leads to more disharmony and bloodshed.

“Everyone should learn the lessons from the massacres of World War II. Racist terrorism has brought nothing and will bring nothing to Europe but blood, tears, and internal strife,” Erdogan said during a speech to open a week-long celebration dedicated to the prophet’s birthday.

Erdogan’s call to boycott French goods was echoed in Jordan, where many of Amman’s malls and supermarkets on Monday were removing products from France from their shelves.

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