France says Turkish Islamist movement has ‘no place’ in the country

Turkish Islamist movement Millî Görüş (National Viewpoint) goes against French values and has no place in the country, a French government spokesperson said on Thursday.

“I consider that this is an association which goes against the values of the (French) Republic, which fights against the values of the Republic, against equality between women and men, against human dignity,” Gabriel Attal told BFM TV in an interview, France24 reported.

“Clearly it should not organise activities and exist in the Republic,” he added.

Millî Görüş was founded by supporters of former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan and shares an ideological affinity with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

It is reported to have as many as 300,000 members across Europe, making it one of the largest organisations among the Turkish diaspora.

Last week, the French Interior Ministry said it opposed a decision by local authorities in Strasbourg to approve a 2.5 million euro ($2.95 million) grant to help Millî Görüş finance the construction of a mosque in the city.

The organisation had refused to sign up to a new government charter aimed at countering religious extremism and should therefore not have been granted the funding, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said.

Reiterating his stance in an interview published on the same day, Darmanin said the French government had “nothing to negotiate” with organisations that failed to sign the charter, according to France24.

“That certain associations did not wish to sign it has revealed this shadowy world of foreign interference and extremist movements operating on our soil,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly clashed with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the issue of Islam in recent months.

In October, Erdoğan accused Macron of pursuing anti-Muslim policies in response to the killing of French teacher Samuel Paty by Islamic extremists.

More recently, Macron said he believed Turkey could seek to interfere in France’s upcoming presidential elections.

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