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Turkish leader backs boycott of French goods over cartoon row

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Turkish leader backs boycott of French goods over cartoon row

By Christian Lowe and Tuvan Gumrukcu



Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a ceremony in Malatya, Turkey October 25, 2020. Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS


PARIS/ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan asked his compatriots to stop buying French goods on Monday in the latest expression of anger in the Muslim world over images being displayed in France of the Prophet Mohammad, which some Muslims consider blasphemous.


In Bangladesh on Monday, protesters held placards with a caricature of French President Emmanuel Macron and the words: "Macron is the enemy of peace", while Pakistan's parliament passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris.


Erdogan, who has a history of fraught relations with Macron, said France was pursuing an anti-Islam agenda.


"I am calling to all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them," Erdogan said.


The Turkish president has made similar boycott calls in the past, including an appeal not to buy U.S. electronic goods in 2018 that was not followed through.


Erdogan on Monday joined a chorus of voices calling for a boycott. In Kuwait city, a supermarket had stripped its shelves of L'Oreal cosmetics and skincare products after the cooperative union to which it belongs decided to stop stocking French goods.


In Saudi Arabia, calls for a boycott of French supermarket chain Carrefour were trending on social media, though two stores Reuters visited in the Saudi capital on Monday seemed as busy as normal. A company representative in France said it had yet to feel any impact.


France is a major exporter of grain to mainly-Muslim North Africa, and French companies in the autos and retail sector also have significant exposure to majority-Muslim countries


French Trade Minister Franck Riester said it was too early to put a figure on the impact of the boycott campaign but so far it was limited and mainly affected French agricultural exports.


Some countries are removing French products from shelves as a sign of protest against comments by French President Emmanuel Macron on "Islamist separatism". Edward Baran reports.




The row has its roots in a knife attack outside a French school on Oct. 16 in which an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin beheaded Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher who had shown pupils cartoons of Mohammad in a civics lesson on freedom of speech.


The cartoons first appeared many years ago in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose Paris office was attacked in 2015 by gunmen who killed 12 people.


Since the beheading, the caricatures have been projected onto a building in one city and people displayed them at protests around the country. Macron said he would redouble efforts to stop conservative Islamic beliefs subverting French values.


Some in the Muslim world saw this as an attack on their religion.


Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, the Council of Senior Scholars, said on Sunday that insulting prophets had nothing to do with freedom of expression and only "served extremists who aim to spread hatred".


Qatar’s government issued a statement on Monday condemning what it described as populist rhetoric inciting the abuse of religions.


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that insulting Muslims is an "opportunistic abuse of freedom of speech. It only fuels extremism."


Earlier, Erdogan had questioned Macron's mental health, prompting Paris to recall its ambassador in Ankara.


"What is the problem of this person called Macron with Muslims and Islam? Macron needs treatment on a mental level," Erdogan said in a speech on Saturday.



France's government has stood firm in response to Muslim anger. In a Tweet on Sunday, Macron said France respected all differences in a spirit of peace but added: "We will not give in, ever." His foreign ministry urged foreign governments to dissociate themselves from boycott calls.


Macron on Monday met representatives of France's Muslim community. The meeting was behind closed doors and the Elysee Palace gave no detailed information on what was discussed.


One of those present, Mohamed Moussaoui, President of the French Council for the Muslim Faith, said delegates told Macron they opposed the boycott.


But they also told Macron "the Muslims of France are worried by discussions which seek to confuse them with terrorists," Moussaoui told French broadcaster BFM.


Several of France's partners in the European Union rallied round the French leader.


Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Erdogan's remarks about Macron were unacceptable.


"Full solidarity with the President @EmmanuelMacron," Conte wrote on Twitter. "Personal invective does not help the positive agenda that the EU wants to pursue with Turkey."


(Reporting by Reuters bureaux; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Giles Elgood)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-10-27
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Screw it. These countries are essentially saying that they will accept neither the principle of freedom of expression, or the leader of a free country saying how important in the aftermath of a tea

Need to change that to "Islam is the enemy of peace"

Boycott french labeled cheese made in Turkey for the turkish market ( 50%) and  exported  (50% ) to Iraq etc.. . . just do it !

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2 hours ago, Opl said:

->  "Sure, we can keep sweeping it under the carpet but, at some point, we have to admit that we have an existential problem."


In France we've been sweeping it under the carpet for so long, at this point we have to admit we have a huge problem impossible to ignore any longer. 

Décor événementiel trompe l'œil bosse et trou dans le sol - Atelier WYBO 

Apparently the person who designed the carpet had a major in Physics with a sense of humor. Albert would love it 😁

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5 hours ago, stevenl said:

No surprise,the is pandering to his base.


That, and projecting himself as the leader of the Muslim world.

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15 minutes ago, Morch said:


That, and projecting himself as the leader of the Muslim world.

Not in this case, too late and to minor a reaction.

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Your citizens hate you tin pot sultan especially the thousands in jail on paralel state charges Boris not keen either with his spot on wankrera from Ankara poem 🤔  

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5 minutes ago, sammieuk1 said:

Your citizens hate you tin pot sultan especially the thousands in jail on paralel state charges Boris not keen either with his spot on wankrera from Ankara poem 🤔  

And in English please?

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46 minutes ago, stevenl said:

Not in this case, too late and to minor a reaction.


Too late how?

And taken in the context of almost no similar reaction from other relevant leaders (especially from KSA), his words are bound to get more attention. As far as I'm aware, the official comments more in line with Erdogan's stance were aired after he started off this round of nonsense.

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