Türkiye hopes to see violence, bloodshed in France end 'as soon as possible': President Erdogan

Türkiye is concerned that recent events in France will lead to 'new wave of pressure, intimidation' of immigrants, Muslims, says Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Diyar Guldogan  | 03.07.2023 - Update : 04.07.2023
Türkiye hopes to see violence, bloodshed in France end 'as soon as possible': President Erdogan


Türkiye hopes recent events in the wake of last week’s fatal police shooting in France will come to an end "as soon as possible," cutting short the escalating cycle of violence, said the nation’s president on Monday.

"We hope that the recent events, which cause us concern, will come to an end as soon as possible before more blood is shed and the spiral of violence worsens," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.

Erdogan also said that Türkiye is concerned that these events will lead to a "new wave of pressure and intimidation" of immigrants and Muslims.

"The events that began in France and shortly thereafter spread to other countries have their roots in the societal architecture that this mindset has created," he said.

He added: “In countries known for their colonial past, cultural racism has turned into institutional racism."

Protests have shaken France since last Tuesday, when a police officer shot Nahel M., a 17-year-old of Algerian descent, during a traffic check in the Paris suburb of Nanterre after he ignored orders to stop.

French police arrested 157 people overnight in nationwide protests over the police killing, local media reported on Monday.

The officer who shot Nahel faces an official investigation for voluntary homicide and has been placed in preliminary detention.

Erdogan said it is also significant that those who previously tried to teach Türkiye lessons on rights, the law, and democracy "today fell into a deep silence."

"Of course, we do not condone the looting of stores. Street protests cannot be a legitimate method of claiming rights. However, it is clear that the authorities should also learn from this social explosion," he said.

The president also said the Turkish Foreign Ministry has issued necessary advisories to citizens who live in France or plan to visit there.

"Our embassies and consulates always stand with our citizens. We are also closely monitoring the process with our relevant departments...

"We do not want any country, where hundreds of thousands of our citizens live, to be dragged into such a vortex. Above all, we cannot allow racial hatred to target our people," he added.

Quran burning in Sweden

Erdogan also strongly condemned last week’s burning of a Quran in Stockholm, saying: "The cowardly attack on our holy book Quran, in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, has angered us all."

He added that this attack flouts the feelings of Muslims and is incompatible with the most basic human values.

"These are hate crimes fueled by Islamophobia," Erdogan said, adding that attacks on people's sacred values cannot be described as freedom of thought.

"Just as setting fire to a church, synagogue or temple of another faith is not freedom, so there can be no freedom to burn the Quran," he stressed.

Erdogan also criticized the West for not taking any steps in the fight against such offenses.

"Everyone has to accept that Türkiye's friendship cannot be won by opening up space and allocating city squares for terrorists," he added, perhaps referring to Sweden’s bid to join NATO, while Türkiye says Stockholm must take a stronger stand against terrorists to join the alliance.

Last week, a person identified as Salwan Momika burned a copy of the Muslim holy book under police protection in front of Sweden’s Stockholm Central Mosque.

His provocative act was timed to coincide with Eid al-Adha, one of the major Islamic religious festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

The act elicited widespread condemnations from across the Islamic world, including Türkiye, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Senegal, Morocco and Mauritania.

Erdogan stressed that racist terrorist attacks target not only Muslims but also Jews, Africans, Asians, and immigrants.

"We witnessed this once again in the disaster of the ship that sank off the Peloponnese and killed hundreds of refugees last month," he added.

"No serious effort was spent to save people, and the death of hundreds of people wasn't in the spotlight as much as five rich people who went to see the Titanic," he added, referring to the loss of the submersible Titan, about a week after hundreds of migrants were lost in a ship off the coast of Greece.

Previously Erdogan has said that Sweden cannot hope to join NATO – which it applied for after Russia’s war on Ukraine began – as long as it gives shelter and a green light for terrorists and supporters of terrorists.

To join NATO, Sweden needs the approval of all of its current members, including Türkiye, which has been in the alliance for over 70 years and boasts its second-largest army.

Russia-Ukraine war

On the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Erdogan said Ankara has struggled to establish regional peace and did not allow the spark of conflict in the region to spread to Türkiye.

The Black Sea grain deal reached last year presents a historic opportunity to end the "brutal" war, Erdogan said, adding: "If this opportunity, which offers the parties an honorable exit, could be used, the destruction and tears experienced so far would not have happened.

"The grain deal that started with the Istanbul process and the diplomatic efforts that continued with the prisoner exchanges were unfortunately blocked and worn out by the war lobby. Soldiers, civilians, tens of thousands of people have paid the price for this."

Last July, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were halted after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022.

A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.

Türkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly called on Kyiv and Moscow to end the war through negotiations.

"We are in close contact with the heads of state of both countries. We take the initiative on every event that carries the risk of deepening conflicts. Hopefully, we will maintain our balanced stance from now on also. We will continue our diplomatic efforts until peace prevails around Türkiye," Erdogan said.

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.