"Fascist playbook"

In response, Erdogan called on the Turkish population to boycott French products. Europe, too, had a duty here: "European politicians should call on Macron, who leads anti-Muslim hatred on the continent, to stop his policies.”

Erdogan's communications director, Fahrettin Altun, who has the task of making the head of state's thoughts known to an international audience, followed suit: "Macron's anti-Islam rhetoric is yet another example of a desperate European politician vying for relevance."

Islamophobia, xenophobia and the attacks on Erdogan are tools Macron is using to take over the leadership in Europe, according to the presidential spokesman. As if that were not enough: "Macron is following the old fascist playbook that targeted Jews in Europe in this matter."

The reference to the fate of the European Jews in the first half of the last century is a recurring motif in reports and comments in the government-linked Turkish media.

"Jews were the target of far-right racism in Europe 100 years ago, and now, Muslims are facing racism in Europe," wrote Hilal Kaplan in the Daily Sabah under the heading "Liberty, equality, fraternity, except Muslims".


But Turkish-French discord goes far beyond the obvious differences of opinion about the situation of Muslims in France.

Paris and Ankara are also at loggerheads on key foreign policy issues: "The current war of words is part of a broader confrontation between Erdogan and Macron," writes Burhanettin Duran. "After Syria, the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, the Islam issue is now fuelling further tensions between the two politicians."

Macron is looking for "pretexts" to make the European Union agree to economic sanctions against Turkey, the journalist contends. But he cannot make his argument without reference to the personal dimension and therefore alleges that the French president is desperately seeking to "avenge his losses to Turkey’s leader in North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria and the Caucasus".

The commentator suggests that Ankara has gained the upper hand over France in these hotbeds of crisis and conflict – something that is by no means clear.

The passage is a good example of the triumphalism that pervades the pro-regime Turkish media, which ignores the facts, but nevertheless – as is generally the case with systematic disinformation – manages to sway the opinions of many people in Turkey.

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