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Calls to boycott France put Turkey "even further" from EU

Teen suspected in beheading of Paris teacher
Teen suspected in beheading of Paris teacher 02:02

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's support for a boycott of French goods is a further setback to Turkey's already stalled bid to join the EU, the European Commission said Tuesday. "Calls for boycott of products of any member state are contrary to the spirit of these obligations and will take Turkey even further away from the European Union," a spokesman said.

Turkey applied to join the then European Economic Community in 1987 and began formal accession negotiations to the European Union in 2005, but the talks are seen as effectively frozen. Protests erupted in several mainly-Muslim countries after President Emmanuel Macron defended a cartoonist's right to caricature religious leaders in the wake of a French teacher's murder.

History teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in the street on October 16 after a social media campaign criticized him for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a lesson on free speech.

Turkey France Protest
A child holds a photograph of France's President Emmanuel Macron, stamped with a shoe mark, during a protest against France in Istanbul, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020.  Emrah Gurel / AP

Turkey has condemned the murder, but Erdogan has also resumed his long-standing and intense war of words with Macron, and has added his voice to calls for a boycott of French goods.

This is turn has been criticized by several European leaders, exacerbating the tensions surrounding Turkey's bid to drill for gas in waters claimed by EU members Greece and Cyprus.

Now, the European Commission, which oversees the EU application process, has warned that an official boycott would breach the terms of Turkey's relationship with the bloc.

Thousands in Bangladesh protest against French cartoons

Around 10,000 people in Bangladesh rallied in the South Asian nation's capital on Tuesday to protest Macron and his support of secular laws that deem caricatures depicting Muhammad as protected under freedom of speech..

Protesters from the conservative Islami Andolon Bangladesh group, which supports the introduction of Islamic law in the Muslim-majority country, carried banners and placards reading: "All Muslims of the world, unite" and "Boycott France." It was the largest protest yet against the cartoons in recent days.

APTOPIX Bangladesh France Protest
Supporters of Islami Andolan Bangladesh, an Islamist political party, face policemen during a protest against French President Emmanuel Macron and against the publishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 27, 2020. Mahmud Hossain Opu / AP

Some carried portraits of Macron with an "X" on his face. One protester carried a cutout image of the French president with shoes around his neck as a sign of insult.

Chechnya's strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov on Tuesday accused  Macron of provoking Muslims and compared the French leader to a "terrorist."

In a strongly-worded statement, the head of Russia's Muslim-majority southern region condemned Macron for his defence of the murdered French schoolteacher who had shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

"The president of France is himself beginning to look like a terrorist," 44-year-old Kadyrov said in the statement on the Telegram messaging app.

"By supporting provocations, he covertly calls on Muslims to commit crimes."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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