President Macron Says Turkey Has Plans To Try To Influence French Elections


President Emmanuel Macron expressed concern that Turkey will try to influence the upcoming French elections.

“The threats are not veiled, so I think we have to be very lucid,” Macron said Tuesday in an interview with France 5 television.

Photographer: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / Bloomberg

The comments go a bit out of the field on the left. Ties between Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been strained over issues ranging from religion to energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, but they exchanged letters in January and agreed to try to repair ties. On March 2 they followed up with a video call.

Macron did not explain how Turkey might try to interfere in the French elections, or whether he was referring to the June regional elections, the 2022 presidential elections, or both. He only said that Turkey would be “playing with public opinion.” It was probably a reference to their control over parts of the Turkish diaspora through schools, mosques, and other organizations.

Read more: Macron’s War Against Islamists Tackles Erdogan’s Soft Power

The French leader tried to voice his comments by saying that dialogue with Turkey is still necessary.

He noted that NATO member Turkey is an important trading partner and key ally in the fight against illegal immigration to Europe from the Middle East. “If you say overnight: we can no longer work with you, no more discussions, they open the doors and you have 3 million Syrian refugees arriving in Europe,” Macron said. “We must work with Turkey.”

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