Dhe Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls for a boycott of French goods. The reason is the dispute between France and Islamic countries over the debate about showing and publishing Mohammed cartoons. “Just as some in France say ‘don’t buy Turkish brands’, I address myself to my nation: Don’t pay attention to goods labeled in French, don’t buy them,” Erdogan said in a televised address on Monday.
Erdogan accused European politicians of being hostile to Islam. “You are, in the truest sense of the word, fascists,” he said. “Today Muslims are experiencing a similar lynching campaign as was waged against Jews in Europe before the Second World War.”
Other countries had already started a boycott on Sunday. In Kuwait, according to the newspaper “Al-Kabas”, 50 consumer cooperatives declared that they had removed all French goods from their branches. In Qatar, too, supermarket chains have announced that they will be taking French goods off their shelves until further notice.
Videos could be seen on social networks of employees at a supermarket in Amman, the capital of Jordan, removing French dairy products from the refrigerated shelves. Users spread the names of French brands on the Internet and called for a boycott, and hashtags were also making the rounds.
Merkel is behind Macron
The largest French trade association, Medef, has backed the government in Paris in the face of calls for boycotts against products from France in several Arab countries. It is out of the question to give in to blackmail, Medef boss Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux told BFMTV on Monday. “There are times when we have to put principles before the opportunity to expand our business.”
Medef is “in full solidarity with the French government,” said the head of the association. “I urge the companies to resist the blackmail and unfortunately to endure this boycott for the time being.”
The German federal government also stood behind Macron. “These are defamatory statements that are completely unacceptable,” said government spokesman
Steffen Seibert in Berlin. “We stand by France’s side in solidarity,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD). The
Personal attacks by President Erdogan against President Macron “are a new low point, and they are total
unacceptable”. Anyone who “simply equates the fight against Islamist extremists with racism and Islamophobia is acting no differently than irresponsible, and is playing into the hands of those who want to divide our society”.
The dispute between France and the other countries was inflamed over the debate about showing and publishing cartoons of Mohammed. The background is statements by French President Emmanuel Macron after the brutal murder of a teacher in France.
Macron had defended freedom of expression and sided with those who want to show or publish cartoons. France will not “do without caricatures and drawings, even if others withdraw,” said Macron at a memorial service in honor of the killed Samuel Paty. He had shown Mohammed cartoons in class and was killed in the street and then beheaded. Islamic tradition forbids depicting the Prophet Mohammed.