Call for boycott of French products in the Middle East: Paris launches response

#Boycott_France_Products, #We_Love_Mohammad or #WeHateFrancegovernment. Faced with the proliferation of messages against France this weekend on social networks in the Middle East, France retaliated this Sunday evening, urging the governments of the countries concerned to “stop” these calls to boycott French products and to demonstrate from a “radical minority”. Paris also asked them to “ensure the safety” of the French living on their soil.

Emmanuel Macron himself responded on the networks shortly after, on Twitter and on Instagram: “Freedom, we cherish it; equality, we guarantee it; fraternity, we live it with intensity. Nothing will make us back down, ever ”. ” We will continue. We respect all differences in a spirit of peace. We never accept hate speech and stand for reasonable debate, ”he added, including in Arabic and English.

There was an emergency: members of the government would also be “threatened”, reveals a source at the Quai d’Orsay, “several of them receive attacks in order, especially on accounts recently created on Instagram. “

For several days, the cloth has been burning between Paris and Ankara. This online campaign takes place while in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again attacked Emmanuel Macron, questioning his “sanity” … Unprecedented attacks that follow recent statements by the head of the ‘State on “Islamist separatism” and the tribute, this Wednesday, to Professor Samuel Paty, beheaded by an Islamist terrorist after showing his students caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Emmanuel Macron then promised not to “renounce the caricatures” of the prophet of Muslims.

However, the boycott “is not a surprise”, explains a source within the executive. “Since the Mureaux speech on separatism, a number of public and private statements call for action against Emmanuel Macron and France,” she reveals. By whom and why? Initiated on Friday on social networks, this mobilization would be the result of a “machine launched by Turkish networks”, explains another source at the Quai d’Orsay, while Franck Riester, Minister Delegate in charge of Foreign Trade denounces “actions private ”.

A campaign instrumentalised by the Turkish president

A thesis that weighs Jean-Pierre Filiu, specialist in the Middle East and professor at Sciences-po Paris. According to the expert, the sling would rather be the result of a “manipulation of the Turkish presidency” which would have “mobilized all its networks, via Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, to trigger an allegedly spontaneous boycott campaign. […] by exploiting a whole series of amalgams and intoxications disseminated on social networks ”. Among the latter, “messages claim that the study of Charlie Hebdo cartoons has become institutionalized, even compulsory, in France”, he explains.

VIDEO. Caricatures of Mahomet: French products boycotted, Macron’s portrait burnt

“President Erdogan wants to personalize his conflict with Macron. We have never seen a head of state thus questioning the mental health of another head of state, “continues the expert, who has been a diplomat stationed in Arab countries for twenty years. “Erdogan needs an enemy because he maintains in his country, and in the crises of the Middle East, a dynamic of war. When we oppose France, we grow ”, he continues.

For Pascal Boniface, director of Iris (Institute for International and Strategic Relations), “Erdogan is an opportunist. He sees that he can acquire popularity with this campaign, at home and in the rest of the Muslim countries ”. How far ? “For now, this campaign affects very few countries. But we cannot rule out the fact that other countries are joining this campaign so as not to leave Erdogan with a monopoly on the image of defender of Muslims. “

Will the boycott campaign spread?

Precisely, as of Friday, in the Arabian Peninsula, the University of Qatar announced on Twitter the postponement of the French Cultural Week following “the deliberate attack on Islam and its symbols”. Since the start of the mobilization, personalities in Iran, Jordan and Kuwait have also denounced the publication of the cartoons, while the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, a body which brings together Muslim countries, deplored “the words of certain officials. French […] likely to harm Franco-Muslim relations ”.

On Saturday, around 200 people gathered in front of the residence of the French ambassador to Israel. And, in the Gaza Strip, demonstrators burned photos of the French president.

This Sunday, in the Maghreb, an anti-France parade gathered a few dozen people in the Tunisian locality of El Kamour, at the gates of the Sahara, while the head of the Algerian Islamist party Front de la justice et du développement, Abdallah Djaballah, called for a boycott of French products and demanded the summons of the French ambassador.

In Morocco, the opposition party Istiqlal (center-right) denounced “the repeated persistence in publishing the cartoons insulting against the prophet” as well as the “stigmatizing statements of Islam which affect the common religious sentiment of Muslims in the country. world, primarily those of France ”. Criticisms taken up in substance by the Moroccan association Movement for Uniqueness and Reform, the religious wing of the Justice and Development Party.

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