Erdoğan is whipping up Muslim animosity against Macron

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has put himself at the forefront of a Muslim backlash against French President Emmanuel Macron's handling of the recent Mohammed cartoons killing, the EU Observer said on Monday.

At the weekend, Erdoğan suggested Macron needed mental health treatment after the French president's remarks on problems created by radical Muslims in France who practice what he termed “Islamist separatism”.

"What can one say about a head of state who treats millions of members from different faith groups this way: first of all, have mental checks," Erdoğan said during a meeting of his governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri. 

Erdoğan's remarks were in response to a campaign championed by Macron to protect France’s secular values against radical Islam, a debate given fresh impetus by the murder of a teacher who showed his class a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad.

Macron has vowed to crack down on Islamist separatism in the country after France was rocked by the beheading of Samuel Paty on Oct. 16.  But his comments on Islam have sparked controversy and anger among Muslims around the world.

Paty was a history professor who had taught a class on freedom of expression during which he used controversial caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed from satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The killing of the teacher by a suspected terrorist in a Paris suburb reignited tensions over secularism, Islamism and Islamophobia in France.

EU leaders are no strangers to Erdoğan's insults, the EU Observer said.

Erdoğan accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of being a "Nazi" in an election campaign in 2017 and insulted Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte over the fact Dutch soldiers failed to stop a Muslim massacre in Bosnia in the 1990s.