In an escalation of the row between France and Turkey over Paris tolerating and encouraging Islamophobia, Turkey’s president on Monday called for a sweeping public boycott of French-made goods.
"Here I call out to my people, don't ever compliment French brands, don't buy them," Erdogan said at the opening ceremony of a week in the capital Ankara honoring the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, insulting cartoons of which in France fueled the row.
As some in France say, “Don't buy Turkish brand goods,” the Turkish people should shun French brand goods, he said.
Decrying rising Islamophobia in Europe, Erdogan said hostility to Islam and Muslims has become state policy in some European countries, a policy which enjoys support at high levels.
"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," he added.
He said racist terrorism is spreading in society by the media and politics, and often through "toleration" by security forces.
"Today, it is becoming more and more impossible to be a Muslim and to live as Muslim in the West. While organizations such as [terrorist group] FETO are protected at the highest level, sincere believers who have no other aim than doing what their religion requires are subjected to ‘othering’," said Erdogan.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Turkey has charged that European countries give shelter to fugitive FETO members and refuse to extradite them to face justice.
‘EP cannot stay silent on Islamophobia’
Addressing his fellow world leaders, he urged: "If there is persecution in France, let’s protect Muslims together."
He went on to say that as the European Parliament speaks up on every issue related to Turkey, it would be wrong for it to stay silent in the face of rampant Islamophobia.
"European politicians must now stop the hate campaign led by French President Emmanuel Macron," he said, reiterating that racism and Islamophobia are mental health problems.
Mentioning the recent attacks on Islam and Muslims, Erdogan said that these were started with encouragement by Macron, who "needs be under control mentally".
"There is no gain you can achieve by seeing Muslims as enemies," Erdogan warned, speaking as "the president of a country with 6 million of his people living in Europe."
The 2011 attacks in Norway by an Islamophobic terrorist gunman which claimed 77 innocent people, Erdogan called these the "painful consequences" of Europe’s current policies.
"Everyone should learn lesson from the massacres of World War II. Racist terrorism has brought nothing and will bring nothing to Europe but blood, tears, and internal strife," he added.
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron described Islam as a religion "in crisis" and announced plans for tougher laws to tackle what he called "Islamist separatism" in France.
He condemned the murder of a French teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class, but said France would "not give up our cartoons."
Several Arab countries, as well as Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan, have condemned Macron’s attitude toward Muslims and Islam, with Erdogan saying on Sunday that the French leader needs "mental treatment."
After Erdogan’s remarks, France recalled its ambassador to Turkey.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.