Ankara has lashed out at France over its decision to ban a Turkish nationalist group and accused Emmanuel Macron’s government of “double standards” over its “tolerance of terrorist organizations.”
On Wednesday, France’s Council of Ministers approved the dissolution of the right-wing Grey Wolves organization after its members were filmed among a mob that was allegedly searching for Armenians on the streets of Lyon last week. The move came amid a wider crackdown by French authorities on extremism following a number of attacks by radical Islamists.
Turkey responded with a furious statement, slamming its NATO ally’s “hypocritical attitude,” due to alleged French support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) political group, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization.
“This hypocritical attitude and the provocative decision taken today under the pretext of preventing violence are reminding the negative record of France in the fight against terrorist organizations that are receiving patronage and support from France,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
The Turkish government sees the People’s Protection Units (YPG) group of Kurdish fighters in Syria, which has fought Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), as an extension of the PKK.
Macron angered Ankara last year by hosting members of the Syrian Democratic Forces organization, which is dominated by YPG members and backed by the US.
Ankara’s statement on Thursday also claimed that Paris had supported other Turkey-designated terrorist groups, the ‘Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization’ (FETO) and the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA).
The foreign ministry’s strongly worded statement is the latest heated exchange between Ankara and Paris in recent weeks. Macron sparked outrage among Muslims across the world last month with his defense of the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
His criticism of political Islam in the wake of the killing of French teacher Samuel Paty also angered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other leaders.
In return, Erdogan has compared the treatment of Muslims to that of “Jews in Europe before World War II,” and also took a swipe at his French counterpart’s “mental health” over his remarks about Islam.
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