On 26 October 2020, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan kicked off celebrations for the birth of Prophet Muhammad . On this occasion, he delivered a lyrical speech describing the suffering endured by Muslims around the world, particularly in Europe: a world where atrocities, terror, and torture are used to force Muslims to renounce their faith; a world where 1 million of them were exterminated and 12 million were driven from their homes, forced to flee or to die.
The Turkish leader pointed the finger at French President Emmanuel Macron for spearheading this hate campaign against Islam. He pleaded with the Europeans to draw on the lessons from the genocide which they enacted against the Jews during WWII and not to repeat the same crime against Muslims. He recalled the massacre perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik (2011) in Norway as the symbol of what Europeans are capable of.
President Erdoğan concluded by saying: “The European Council can no longer ignore Islamophobia. The European Parliament, which comments on every every issue related to our country, cannot push it aside by sticking its head in the sand. The cautious, moral and conscientious leaders of Europe should break down the walls of fear and start talking about hostility towards Islam and Muslims. Far-right ideas should not be allowed to capture the mainstream politics of Europe. European politicians should say ‘stop’ to the hate campaign led by French President Macron. Although Macron doesn’t like it, I would like to reiterate here the appeal I made the other day. Racism and Islamophobia are psychoses that destroy a person’s mental faculties and conscience, regardless of their job, position or function. This problem cannot be overcome by denying it or acting as if it does not exist. Any politician who thinks about the future of his country and its citizens must accept it and face it and look for ways to solve the problem.”
It should be recalled that President Erdoğan had announced the attacks of 13 November 2015 in France (the Bataclan nightclub in Paris) before they actually took place, and which were then vigorously acclaimed by his party, the AKP; that Turkey still denies the genocide of the Armenians and is overseeing its extension in Azerbaijan.
As an example of anti-Muslim atrocities in Europe, President Erdoğan only offered that of the Srebrenica massacre (1995). He failed to elaborate on the rest of the “atrocities, terror, and torture” of which Muslims are allegedly the victims in Europe today.
As to the “psychosis” which President Macron might be suffering from, President Erdoğan alludes to an interview where he had advised his French counterpart to seek treatment. As a result, Paris recalled its ambassador to Ankara.