Turkish President Erdogan lashes out at French President Macron, who has blamed Turkey for problems in Syria, Libya, and the eastern Mediterranean, in the latest verbal salvo between the two leaders.

Erdogan (L) and Macron (R) have traded insults for months after finding themselves on opposite sides of conflicts ranging from Libya to maritime disputes in the east Med.
Erdogan (L) and Macron (R) have traded insults for months after finding themselves on opposite sides of conflicts ranging from Libya to maritime disputes in the east Med. (AFP)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said France is led by an "ambitious but incapable" president and demanded the European Union abandon its double standards against Ankara.

Erdogan told a virtual meeting of his governing Justice and Development (AK) Party on Thursday that French President Emmanuel Macron's logic blaming Turkey for regional problems is not sound.

"If Turkey withdraws from Syria, would Syria achieve peace?" he asked while going through a list of troubled countries in which Turkey and France back opposite sides.

"If Turkey renounces everything, would France be rid of the mayhem provoked by the incapable and ambitious person who is heading France, and adopt a policy based on common sense?"

Erdogan and Macron have traded insults for months after finding themselves on opposite sides of conflicts ranging from Libya and parts of the Middle East to Turkey's maritime row with Greece.

Macron enraged Ankara last week by suggesting that Turkey "deserved something else" to the way Erdogan's government was approaching foreign affairs.

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Conflicts driving Turkey and EU apart

Critics of Turkish foreign policy should stop accusing Ankara and instead fight against the conditions in the region that make it necessary for Turkey to champion peace and justice, Erdogan said.

Turkey has been backing Libya's internationally-recognised government based in Tripoli against warlord Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by Russia, Egypt and the UAE among others.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched several operations, sending troops across its southern border into Syria against the YPG/PKK terror group.

Its recent energy exploration has caused a deepening rift in the region with the EU backing Greece in the fight over maritime zones. Turkey has said its drill ships in the eastern Mediterranean are there to rightfully explore maritime resources and that Greek claims to small islands next to Turkey's coast deprive Ankara of maritime jurisdiction in the region, despite no country having a longer Mediterranean coastline.

Critics in the EU, notably France, have opposed these efforts.

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EU 'double standards' 

The EU has been applying "double standards against us for a long time," Erdogan said.

"With the support of our nation, we will continue to do whatever is good, right, and beneficial for our country," Erdogan said.

The European Union will next week discuss sanctioning Turkey for sending its energy exploration vessels and warships into eastern Mediterranean waters claimed by Greek-administered Cyprus and Greece.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies