France recalls its ambassador to Ankara after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Emmanuel Macron’s policy towards Islam and said the French president needed “mental treatment”.
Such “excess” and “rudeness” on Erdogan’s part is “unacceptable,” Macron’s office at the Elysee Palace said in a statement on Saturday, noting that it was the first time that a senior diplomat level was recalled from the country. “We demand that Erdogan change the course of his politics because it is dangerous.”
Tensions between France and Turkey have intensified. Macron has long criticized Erdogan’s assertion of regional power, from his intervention in the Libyan civil war to his role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and his willingness to explore energy in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Turkish leader’s comments came after France mourned the killing of a teacher by an Islamist, followed by Macron’s pledge to crack down on radical Islam. Erdogan offered no messages of condolence or support after the murder, the statement said.
Read: A child of the French right-wing poster leads the crackdown on Islamists
An Elysée official called comments on Macron’s mental health “brutal”, “aggressive” and “an attack on French values”. Office Noted the recall was a “strong diplomatic signal”.
A French ambassador was last recalled when Italian Minister Luigi Di Maio met with representatives of the Yellow Vests, the popular movement for social justice that criticizes Macron.
Other measures could be considered once the French ambassador meets with the president, according to the official, who refused to be identified to comply with government rules.