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Erdogan says Macron ‘needs mental treatment’ over his bitter remarks on Islam

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a fresh attack on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, saying he needed treatment and “mental checks” over his attitude towards Muslims and Islam, leading Paris to recall its ambassador in Ankara.

Earlier this month, 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.

France has since been shaken by the beheading of a history teacher earlier this month. The assailant had wanted to avenge the teacher’s use of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression.

“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 in the central Turkish city of Kayseri 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?” Erdogan said. “First of all, have mental checks.”

France recalled its envoy to Turkey for consultations after “unacceptable” comments by Erdogan questioning Macron’s mental health.

The Turkish president said on October 6 after Macron’s initial comments on “Islamist separatism”, that the remarks were “a clear provocation” and showed the French leader’s “impertinence”.

Macron 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.

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