Macron claims Turkey plans to interfere in French elections

Macron claims Turkey plans to interfere in French elections
Turkey has issued clear 'threats' it seeks to interfere in French presidential elections, Macron claimed.
2 min read
24 March, 2021
Macron accuses Turkish of 'spreading lies' about France [Getty]
Turkey has plans to meddle in France's presidential elections next year, President Emmanuel Macron claimed on Tuesday.

"I consider this to be unacceptable. It's written down - the threats are not veiled," Macron told France 5 television.

The French leader went on to slam "media controlled by the Turkish state" for "spreading lies" about the country.

"My comments were falsified and France was presented as a country with a problem with Islam," Macron said.

France and Turkey have found themselves embroiled in a number of heated arguments in recent years, trading blows over the eastern Mediterranean and conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria and Libya.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused France of holding a dangerous anti-Muslim agenda after President Macron vowed to crack down on Islamist extremism amid a series of prominent attacks last year.

The longtime Turkish leader had urged a boycott of French products.

"Certain large channels controlled by Qatar" were also involved in spreading "lies" about France, Macron claimed on Tuesday.

The French president has raised the issue with Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, he said.

Erdogan has taken a softer tone in dealing with France this year, Macron said, "but we cannot reengage when there are ambiguities".

The French leader highlighted Turkey's military intervention in Libya and Ankara's alleged use of refugees as "blackmail".

"If one day we say we are not working and discussing with them any more, they will open their doors and you will have three million Syrian refugees in Europe," Macron said.

European Union leaders are due to discuss their relationship with Turkey in a meeting later this week.

Ankara has expressed a desire to reignite the accession talks to the EU but that process is uncertain due to continued criticism of alleged Turkish rights violations and the threat of further sanctions over Ankara's energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

An EU strategy paper circulated this month also advocated the imposition of sanctions on Turkey's tourism industry.

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