France's Macron calls for dialogue over escalating tensions in Eastern Mediterranean

French President Emmanuel Macron has called on Turkey to reopen ‘responsible dialogue’ over the East Mediterranean in a Tweet on Saturday.

Tweeting in Turkish, Macron referenced the recent summit held in Ajaccio, Corsica, with Mediterranean leaders on September 10.

“In Ajaccio, we sent a clear message to Turkey: let’s reopen a responsible dialogue, in good faith, without naivety. This call is now also that of the European Parliament. It seems to have been heard. Let’s move on,” Macron said.

The call from Macron comes a day after Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar appeared on Channel 4 News in the UK, where he likened Macron to Napoleon Bonaparte. 

"He is trying to play a role in the Eastern Mediterranean by coming from thousands of kilometres away," Akar said. However “he is neither power enough, nor tall enough to do it”, according to Akar.

Napoleon, who was said by detractors to be notably small, was probably around 1.68 metres tall. Macron is 1.75 metres tall.

Akar welcomed mediation efforts within the framework of NATO, but said that Greece was slowing down talks with some preconditions, while Turkey supports NATO holding meetings. However, Akar added that the EU was not playing a constructive role in dialogue.

The pro-Turkish government newspaper Daily Sabah suggested that Macron had ‘backtracked’ on earlier ‘threats’ of sanctions against Turkey, and calls for the EU to show a united front to Turkey.

Sabah also noted Defence Minister Akar’s suggestion that “Macron is trying to have a role in the Eastern Mediterranean to cover his problems in France.” 

Akar’s statements to Channel 4 are a notable rise in rhetoric against France from Turkey as the two countries exchange warnings over Turkey’s attempts to gain greater maritime territory in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Akar said Macron was “pouring fuel onto the problems and this is why the issue is being prolonged”.