Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a fresh attack on the French Preisdent Emmanuel Macron, saying he needed treatment and “mental checks” over his attitude towards Muslims and Islam, leading 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 at a provincial congress of his Justice and Development (AK) Party on Saturday.
“What else can be said to a head of State who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith? First of all, have mental checks.”
Erdogan, a pious Muslim, and his conservative AK party have ruled Turkey for 18 years after taking over the nation during a political crisis and economic downturn in 2002.
Earlier, Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France, drawing a sharp rebuke from Erdogan.
Following his comments, France recalled its envoy to Turkey for consultations after deeming Erdogan’s speech “unacceptable”.
Notably, Erdogan and Macron discussed their disagreements in a phone call last month and agreed to improve ties and keep communication channels open.
The French President this month also described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide and said the government would present a bill in December to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France.