Franco-Turkish dispute may be personal

French President Nicolas Sarkozy meeting with Turkey

From Ian Traynor and Nicholas Watt, the Guardian:  There had been bitter attacks from the Turkish government on [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy’s leadership of the campaign , accusing the French of lacking a conscience in their conduct of operations, with criticism from the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the president, Abdullah Gül. …

This week, Claude Guéant, the French interior minister who was previously Sarkozy’s chief adviser, angered the Muslim world by stating that the French president was "leading a crusade" to stop Gaddafi massacring Libyans. …

Erdogan said: "Those who use such hair-raising, frightening terms that fuel clashes of civilisations, or those who even think of them, need to immediately evaluate their own conscience."

The dispute over Libya appears highly personal. Sarkozy went to Turkey last month for the first time in four years as president, but the visit was repeatedly delayed and then downgraded from a state presidential event. He stayed in Turkey for five hours. "Relations between Turkey and France deserve more than this," complained Erdogan. "I will speak with frankness. We wish to host him as president of France. But he is coming as president of the G20, not as that of France."  (photo: Reuters)

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