Turkey may try to meddle in French elections, Macron says
Turkey may try to interfere in France’s upcoming presidential elections, French President Emmanuel Macron said.
“The threats are not veiled. I don't want to re-engage in a peaceful relationship if there are such manoeuvres going on behind," Macron said in an interview with television channel France 5, Euronews reported on Wednesday.
Diplomatic relations between France and Turkey have deteriorated due to disagreements on Syria, Libya and the eastern Mediterranean. In December, France led a diplomatic push for European Union sanctions against Turkey for its seismic research activities in waters of the Mediterranean claimed by Greece and Cyprus.
Asked whether Turkey would meddle in French elections, Macron said:
“Of course. It is written and the threats are not veiled. So, I think we have to be very clear-headed. I think that this is unbearable.”
French officials have expressed concerns about the influence of Islamist groups and a far-right Turkish ultranationalist organisation, the Grey Wolves.
During political tensions between the two countries in the Autumn, the Turkish state adopted a policy of lies, which were spread via pro-government media, Macron said.
However, Macron emphasised the importance of having a dialogue with Ankara.
“We must do absolutely everything to ensure that Turkey does not turn its back on Europe and move towards more religious extremism, geopolitical choices that are even more dangerous or negative for us,” Macron said.
Since the beginning of the year, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has tried to mend bilateral relations, Macron said. “So I want to believe that this path is possible,” he said.
In January, Erdoğan and Macron exchanged letters, agreeing on the need to repair ties.
Turkey and France will work on a roadmap to normalise their relations, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in January.