The French President vehemently attacks Erdogan, considers his policy a “destabilizing factor” in Europe and demands that his expansion plans be confronted.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview published Thursday that his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is pursuing an “expansionist policy that mixes national and Islamic principles and does not accord with European interests” and constitutes a “destabilizing factor” in Europe.

In an interview with Paris Match, Macron said, “Europe must address these matters head-on and assume responsibility”.

I am not with escalation, But, in parallel, I do not believe in weak diplomacy. 

We have sent a signal that European solidarity is meaningful”.

The interview was published hours before the upcoming meeting between Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will be his guest in Fort Briggson, the summer residence of the presidency in southeastern France.

Relations between Turkey and the European Union have deteriorated in recent months, at a time when Ankara is acting as a regional power in the eastern Mediterranean.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged not to yield to “pirates” and to continue exploring energy sources in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean.

Macron stressed in the interview that “France is a Mediterranean power,” he defended his “clear relationship” with his Turkish counterpart.

“I am one of the few European leaders who received Erdogan in recent years, in Paris, in January 2018. I was criticized by a lot of people for that,” he said. 

He is without a doubt one of the leaders with whom I spend the most time talking.

I personally went to see him again in September 2018 in Istanbul, and took the initiative to hold a joint summit between France, Germany and Britain with Turkey, in London, in December 2019”.

Last week, Turkey accused France of acting like a “thug” in the eastern Mediterranean, and issued a strong warning to Greece, after Paris deployed two military planes and two warships in the eastern Mediterranean in support of Athens.