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Macron warns against Turkish 'interference' in French presidential election

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French President Emmanuel Macron gives an interview at the Elysee Palace in Paris on March 23, 2021
French President Emmanuel Macron gives an interview at the Elysee Palace in Paris on March 23, 2021   -   Copyright  France 5/AFP
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French President Emmanuel Macron warned that Turkey would try to interfere in France's 2022 presidential election in a TV interview that aired on Tuesday.

Asked if there will be attempts from Ankara to meddle in the next election, Macron told France 5:

"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."

"I don't want to re-engage in a peaceful relationship if there are such manoeuvres going on behind," Macron added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously been accused of interfering in a German election in 2017 when he asked German-Turkish citizens to vote against chancellor Angela Merkel's party.

Macron's comments come as Paris and Ankara's bilateral relationship has reached a new low in recent months.

Last fall, Erdogan called for a boycott of French products amid a spiralling row over the French president's perceived attitude toward Islam and Muslims after a spate of terror attacks.

'State lies'

In his Wednesday interview, Macron denounced a "policy of lies" on behalf of Turkey.

"Last autumn there was a policy of lies. State lies. Lies relayed by the press organs controlled by the Turkish state," he told France 5.

Other disputes over the conflicts in Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh have also caused tensions between the two NATO allies.

"France has been very clear. When there were unilateral acts in the eastern Mediterranean, we condemned them with words, and we acted by sending frigates." Macron said.

On a more positive note, the French leader emphasised the importance of maintaining a dialogue with Turkey.

"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, I've noticed a desire on the part of President Erdogan to re-engage in the relationship (...)And so I want to believe that this path is possible," Macron told France 5.