The official's call adds to a larger campaign in the Arab world to boycott products of French brands.
Rabat – President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday officially called on the Turkish people to boycott French products due to a dramatic rise of Islamophobia in France.
The move came in light of tension between Turkey and France about growing attacks on Muslims in the European country.
“I call on our people to never buy French products,” said Erdogan, speaking in Ankara during the opening ceremony for a week honoring Prophet Muhammad’s birth, according to Anadolu Agency.
“Just like they say ‘Don’t buy good with Turkish brands’ in France, I am calling on all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them,” Erdogan added, 20 Minutes reported.
The Turkish leader said that hostility towards Islam and Muslims has become “state policy in some European countries,” with high-level support, calling on world leaders to protect Muslims.
“If there is persecution in France, let’s protect Muslims together,” said the president. He added that silence would be wrong in the face of rising Islamophobia.
The Turkish President’s move follows several racist attacks on innocent Muslims and Arabs in France, as well as threats to burn down mosques and the official dissolution of some Muslim organizations.
The boycott campaign Erdogan is urging joins those of several Muslim-majority countries, whose netizens launched hashtags to boycott French products following the caricaturization of Prophet Muhammad by satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.
On October 25, France’s Foreign Ministry declared that the calls to boycott French products come from a “radical minority” and “must stop immediately.” Ministry Spokesperson Anes von der Muhl added that such moves “distort” positions that France defends, such as ensuring the freedom of speech.
The rising Islamophobic acts in France came as a reaction to the beheading of French history teacher Samuel Paty on October 16 at the hands of a Chechen refugee.
On Monday, the day of Erdogan’s statements, a man and woman attacked two Jordanian siblings in the province of Angers, western France, after they heard them speaking Arabic.
The two siblings told the press that the attackers shouted, “This is France and not for you” before beating both “severely” and causing the brother severe injuries to his face.
Several other testimonies from the Arab and Muslims communities in France emerged in recent days, decrying violent attacks many face due to their religious or ethnic background.
On October 18, French Police opened an investigation into the stabbing of two Muslim women wearing the hijab near the Eiffel Tower. Authorities declined to link the attack to Islamophobic motives.