A fierce attack on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was made by French newspaper Le Figaro through an extensive tribute to the developments in recent days. Columnist Philippe Gélie describes the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, citing repeated mistakes by the “Sultan.”
“The two neighboring countries, historical rivals, are fighting for the exploitation of rich offshore gas fields, rekindling an ancient dispute over the extent of their respective continents. Off the coast of Cyprus, economic benefits and issues of sovereignty created an explosive statement by German Foreign Minister Haiko Maas who said that ‘the slightest spark could ignite a catastrophe’,” the newspaper wrote.
Criticizing Erdoğan, Figaro wonders: “Is the Turkish president not satisfied with the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque and now wants revenge for the naval battle of Nafpaktos?”
Le Figaro vs. Erdoğan:
Then the “Sultan’s mistakes” are listed, which, as the newspaper reports, are constantly increasing. There is even talk of the death of lawyer Ebru Timtik, who was one of thousands accused and convicted of participating in a terrorist organization and died after a long hunger strike.
“Immigrant blackmail against Europe, occupation of northern Syria against the Kurds, armed intervention in Libya, purchase of a Russian missile system under the noses of the Americans. Without forgetting the internal repression, which led thousands of Turks to mourn the life of the lawyer, Ebru Timtik, after a 238-day hunger strike.”
“For France, there can be no equivalence between Turkish offenses and Greece’s maritime claims, even if they are sometimes exaggerated,” the text reads.
Regarding the role of the French president and his country, Le Figaro states that “Emanuel Macron wants NATO to find the courage to speak to the ‘Sultan’ of Ankara and the EU to be strict enough to comply with him.”
“In his duet with the [German] Chancellor, the French president is playing the role of an ostentatious militarist, while Angela Merkel is advocating a sober dialogue. In disputed waters, no one has said it better so far,” the article concluded after praising Macron.
A second article in Figaro’s tribute also mentions that the French warship Tonnerre arrived in Beirut after a joint voyage with the Greek Navy. The articles states that the French ship was “accompanied” by a Turkish one.
It said that the distance between Oruç Reis Turkish research vessel and the warships may not allow technical drilling operations despite Turkish announcements in the opposite direction.
It is also noted that the Turkish Navy decided to conduct exercises with real fire this week, warning foreign ships to avoid the area.
“Turkey is alone, while Athens has been able to involve France, Italy and Cyprus,” Le Figaro wrote, trying to highlight the strategic alliance in the eastern Mediterranean in which France plays a prominent role.
“Greece is also intensifying military exercises to impress its Turkish opponent and the risk of an incident should not be underestimated,” the French newspaper said, stressing that the mix in the wider region is explosive due to the coexistence of Russian and American ships.