French President Emmanuel Macron has “totally lost control of the situation” in his row with Turkey over Islamophobia, said a French opposition leader and former presidential candidate on Monday.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the France Unbowed movement and MP for from a Mediterranean region with a large Muslim population, said he supported Macron several times but that is over, and he will not support Macron in his row with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The best I can to do is to be silent,” he told French Radio Inter.

“Last night, the president, for reasons that none of us can understand, spread out over a series of tweets, totally lost control of the situation,” said Melenchon.

He added that Macron “would do well to think about what his strategy will be: France is being demeaned, humiliated, and ridiculed, what does he intend to do, apart from tweets?”

He said Macron had branded his movement “left Islamists” or “Islamo-leftists.”

Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron described Islam as a religion “in crisis” and announced plans for tougher laws to tackle what he called “Islamist separatism” in France.

He condemned the murder of a French teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class, but said France would “not give up our cartoons.”

Several Arab countries, as well as Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan, have condemned Macron’s attitude toward Muslims and Islam, with Erdogan saying on Sunday that the French leader needs “mental treatment.”

After Erdogan’s remarks, France recalled its ambassador to Turkey.

*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak

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