France condemns Erdogan’s ‘declarations of violence’

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his ruling party members in Ankara on Nov. 5, 2020.(Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)
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Updated 06 November 2020

France condemns Erdogan’s ‘declarations of violence’

  • Erdogan has been feuding bitterly with French President Emmanuel Macron on a number of geopolitical flashpoints

PARIS: France on Thursday condemned “declarations of violence” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and raised the possibility of new sanctions against Ankara. 

Erdogan has been feuding bitterly with French President Emmanuel Macron on a number of geopolitical flashpoints and recently also France’s fight against radical Islam. 

“There are now declarations of violence, even hatred, which are regularly posted by president Erdogan which are unacceptable,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Europe 1 radio. 

Turkey vowed on Wednesday to “respond in the firmest way possible” to France’s ban of the Turkish ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves group linked to a top ally of Erdogan. 

“It is not only France that is targeted, there is a total European solidarity on the subject — we want Turkey to renounce this logic,” Le Drian said. 

The European Council, he added, has already decided to take measures against the Turkish authorities, and “now it is important for the Turks to take the necessary measures to avoid this. 

“There are means of pressure, there is an agenda of possible sanctions.” 

Turkey and France have been at loggerheads on the conflicts in Syria and Libia as well as a scramble for natural gas in the Mediterranean and more recently on Macron’s vow to uphold secular values, including the right to mock Islam and other religions, as part of a battle against extremism. 

Erdogan has recently called for a boycott of French products, accusing Macron of islamophobia and advising the French leader to get “mental checks.” 

 

EU border 

President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday called for a strengthening of border controls in the EU’s Schengen zone following recent Islamist attacks in France and Austria. 

Macron, speaking during a visit to France’s border with Spain, said that France alone will bolster its border controls by doubling police numbers to 4,800. 

The increased controls would target illegal immigration amid “a growing terrorism threat,” he said. 

“I am in favor of an in-depth re-foundation of Schengen to re-think its organization and beef up our common border security,” Macron added. 

France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, has been hit by a string of militant attacks in recent years. 

A knife-wielding Tunisian man beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice on Oct. 30. 

France has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect important sites such as places of worship and schools, and France’s security alert is at its highest level.


Trump says he’ll leave if Electoral College seats Biden

Updated 21 min 57 sec ago

Trump says he’ll leave if Electoral College seats Biden

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will leave the White House if the Electoral College formalizes President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory — even as he insisted such a decision would be a “mistake” — as he spent his Thanksgiving renewing baseless claims that “massive fraud” and crooked officials in battleground states caused his election defeat.
“Certainly I will. But you know that,” Trump said Thursday when asked whether he would vacate the building, allowing a peaceful transition of power in January. But Trump — taking questions for the first time since Election Day — insisted that “a lot of things” would happen between now and then that might alter the results.
“This has a long way to go,” Trump said, even though he lost.
The fact that a sitting American president even had to address whether or not he would leave office after losing reelection underscores the extent to which Trump has smashed one convention after another over the last three weeks. While there is no evidence of the kind of widespread fraud Trump has been alleging, he and his legal team have nonetheless been working to cast doubt on the integrity of the election and trying to overturn voters’ will in an unprecedented breach of Democratic norms.

US President Donald Trump gestures as he participates in a Thanksgiving video teleconference with members of the military forces at the White House in Washington on Nov. 26, 2020. (REUTERS/Erin Scott)

Trump spoke to reporters in the White House’s ornate Diplomatic Reception Room after holding a teleconference with US military leaders stationed across the globe. He thanked them for their service and jokingly warned them not to eat too much turkey, then turned to the election after ending the call. He repeated grievances and angrily denounced officials in Georgia and Pennsylvania, two key swing states that helped give Biden the win.
Trump claimed, despite the results, that this may not be his last Thanksgiving at the White House. And he insisted there had been “massive fraud,” even though state officials and international observers have said no evidence of that exists and Trump’s campaign has repeatedly failed in court.
Trump’s administration has already given the green light for a formal transition to get underway. But Trump took issue with Biden moving forward.
“I think it’s not right that he’s trying to pick a Cabinet,” Trump said, even though officials from both teams are already working together to get Biden’s team up to speed.
And as he refused to concede, Trump announced that he will be traveling to Georgia to rally supporters ahead of two Senate runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate. Trump said the rally for Republican Sens. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler would likely be held Saturday. The White House later clarified he had meant Dec. 5.

US President Donald Trump gestures as he participates in a Thanksgiving video teleconference with members of the military forces at the White House in Washington on Nov. 26, 2020. (REUTERS/Erin Scott)

One of the reasons Republicans have stood by Trump and his baseless claims of fraud has been to keep his loyal base energized ahead of those runoffs on Jan. 5. But Trump, in his remarks, openly questioned whether that election would be fair in a move that could dampen Republican turnout.
“I think you’re dealing with a very fraudulent system. I’m very worried about that,” he said. “People are very disappointed that we were robbed.”
As for the Electoral College, Trump made clear that he will likely never formally concede, even if he said he would leave the White House.
“It’s gonna be a very hard thing to concede. Because we know there was massive fraud,” he said, noting that, “time isn’t on our side.”
“If they do,” vote against him, Trump added, “they’ve made a mistake.”
Asked whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration, Trump said he knew the answer but didn’t want to share it yet.
But there were some signs that Trump was coming to terms with his loss.

US President Donald Trump gestures as he participates in a Thanksgiving video teleconference with members of the military forces at the White House in Washington on Nov. 26, 2020. (REUTERS/Erin Scott)

At one point he urged reporters not to allow Biden the credit for pending coronavirus vaccines. “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines because the vaccines were me and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before,” he said.
As for whether or not he plans to formally declare his candidacy to run again in 2024 — as he has discussed with aides— Trump he didn’t “want to talk about 2024 yet.”
All states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. States have already begun that process, including Michigan, where Trump and his allies tried and failed to delay the process, and Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Vote certification at the local and state level is typically a ministerial task that gets little notice, but that changed this year with Trump’s refusal to concede and his unprecedented attempts to overturn the results of the election through a fusillade of legal challenges and attempts to manipulate the certification process in battleground states he lost.
Biden won by wide margins in both the Electoral College and popular vote, where he received nearly 80 million votes, a record.