A terrorist attack at a church in France on Thursday followed a week of Turkish incitement, including the use of mass media in Turkey to push for “retaliation” against France, such as boycotts, attacks on French President Emmanuel Macron, insults and rants directed against a French magazine and comparing France to the “Crusades.”
Ankara apparently succeeded in radicalizing at least one person to attack the churchgoers.
A “man wielding a knife on Thursday killed three people and injured several others in an attack at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice in southern France,” France24 reported. Nice’s mayor called it an act of terrorism.
The methods used to murder one of those in the church were “those used against the brave teacher,” according to The National, a private English-language daily newspaper published in the UAE. This is a reference to Samuel Paty, a teacher who was decapitated almost two weeks ago by a teenager after the father of a student incited against him for allegedly showing cartoons in class.
Turkey has launched an incitement campaign against France that is run by its ruling AK Party and driven by its pro-government media machine, such as Daily Sabah, Anadolu Agency and TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has incited against Macron, claiming he is mentally deranged, even as Turkey threatened legal action against the Charlie Hebdo magazine for publishing cartoons.
Ankara has tried to push this crisis, even though the cartoons were published five years ago, to claim it is “defending Islam.” This has led to protests in Bangladesh and elsewhere by Islamists, part of the Muslim Brotherhood networks that Ankara’s ruling party is linked.
Erdogan’s goal is to force Paris to do what Ankara wants.
The goal of Turkey is to create a crisis with France and leverage young people who are susceptible to radicalization to carry out attacks as a way of trying to force Paris to do what Ankara wants.
In the past, Turkey has invaded most of its neighbors and attacked peaceful protesters in Washington, as well as carrying out extrajudicial assassinations and renditions from Europe and Syria.
Islamist extremists must be stopped, and radicals need to be confronted, French officials have said. Turkey has latched on to this to fuel a crisis that has now led to a deadly terrorist attack.
Originally published by The Jerusalem Post on October 29, 2020 under the title “Is the Nice Terror Attack Linked to Turkish Gov’t Incitement?”
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Seth Frantzman is a Ginsburg-Milstein Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and senior Middle East correspondent at The Jerusalem Post.