In diplomatic usage, this is a rare act. France’s choice to recall its ambassador to Turkey for consultation is not only the consequence of Recep Erdogan’s insulting remarks towards Emmanuel Macron. These arise in an extremely heavy context.
Paris is one of the main contemptors of Turkish activism in the Mediterranean and in Nagorno-Karabakh. But it is the news of recent days on French soil that arouses the reaction of the Quai d’Orsay. Jean-Yves Le Drian underlines the absence of official condemnation of Ankara after the conflict of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and denounces “Hateful and slanderous propaganda against France”. Beyond Erdogan’s insults, French diplomacy is alarmed by the way in which many media in Muslim countries – Turkey in the lead – relay the recent speeches of Emmanuel Macron at the Mureaux and at the Sorbonne. Often truncated, his words are presented as attacks against Islam. The distinction with Islamism is knowingly erased.
Behind the diplomatic tensions, it is a battle of opinion which is being played out. And it is not only a question of the image of France abroad. With the Internet, this propaganda is also spreading among the French population and could constitute a leaven of division.