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Erdogan says France needs to get rid of Macron

Turkish President slams French counterpart over his intervention in Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at a Nato summit in Watford, near London, December 2019. (AFP)
By Ragip Soylu in Ankara

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his personal attacks against his French counterpart on Friday, saying France needed to get rid of Emmanuel Macron or the country would fall into chaos.

In televised remarks, Erdogan said that France had lost her neutrality in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute by passing a resolution in its National Assembly which recognised the breakaway republic established by Armenians in the enclave.

Even though the resolution is non-binding and the Macron government doesn’t support it, Erdogan said that Ankara would closely watch what would be the official position on the resolution.

“France needs to get rid of Macron scourge as soon as possible,” he said.

“France is going through a really dangerous period due to Macron."

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He said that the country would find itself swamped again by the "yellow vest" protesters if Macron didn't quit.

September to November saw fierce clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory recognised as part of Azerbaijan by the international community, but which has been occupied by ethnic Armenian forces since 1994.

Following the autumn clashes, during which Turkey provided unprecedented support for Azerbaijan, Armenian forces were driven out of a large chunk of territory prior to a ceasefire negotiated by Russia.

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Erdogan said he would echo comments by his “dear brother”, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who on Tuesday said that France should cede Marseille to Armenia, “if they’re so eager".

Tensions have been running high between Erdogan and Macron for the past two years, with repeated personal attacks from both sides.

The two leaders have ambitious visions in the Middle East, which have led to them clashing over a number of issues, including the conflict in Libya and energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

The dispute intensified in October with Erdogan’s call for a boycott of French products, following Macron’s apparent support for Charlie Hebdo magazine’s caricatures about the Prophet Muhammad.

Earlier this year, Erdogan said Macron needed to undergo a mental health check, since he was getting France involved in regional conflicts in which it had no interests.

Turkey also accused France – a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, which is responsible for finding a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute – of losing its impartiality by criticising the Azerbaijani operations in the enclave.

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