NATO SUMMIT – The case of Fabien Azoulay, a 43-year-old Frenchman still detained in Turkey for having bought GBL, a stimulant product banned in the country, was raised on June 14 between the French and Turkish presidents. In April, the 43-year-old’s lawyers, who also denounce “torture”, called on Emmanuel Macron to intervene in this case.
Their request seems to have found an echo on the sidelines of the NATO Summit which is being held in Brussels. On June 14, President Emmanuel Macron and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke for 45 minutes before the start of the meeting of the 30 member countries.
The French president asked his counterpart “to allow an accelerated transfer” to France, according to the French presidency.
“The conditions for a rapid transfer are advancing, which I hope will allow us to be completed as soon as possible,” the French president said in the early evening to the press. But this morning’s discussion has produced some useful results ”.
During a short trip to Istanbul in 2017 to make hair implants, Fabien Azoulay, 43, was arrested for having bought a vial of GBL, a solvent used as a sexual stimulant, online. Sentenced to sixteen years in prison in Turkey, he is still detained in the country.
“Discuss all topics in depth”
During this “nourished and substantial” tête-à-tête, “the two heads of state were willing to discuss all subjects in depth,” the Elysee said. It was a question of “clarifying” the many subjects of Franco-Turkish litigation of recent years, according to the French presidency which notes the “will to advance together on Syria and Libya”, two of the subjects of divergence between them.
Emmanuel Macron also “recalled his desire for strategic clarification between allies on the values, principles and rules within NATO”, according to the presidency.
France and Turkey have displayed antagonistic positions on a number of subjects within NATO, which crystallized in particular in the eastern Mediterranean where Paris supported Athens in the face of Ankara’s gas ambitions and where an incident opposed Turkish vessels and French in June 2020.
“When we are members of the same organization, we cannot decide to conduct unilateral operations that are contrary to the interests of the coalitions we have built”, Emmanuel Macron lamented to the press on Thursday.
Their relations have also deteriorated sharply due to disagreements over Syria, Libya and more recently over the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorny Karabakh.
In October, President Erdogan questioned the “mental health” of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, accusing him of carrying out a “campaign of hatred” against Islam, because he had defended the right to caricature the prophet Muhammad and for his speech against Islamist “separatism” in France. During the interview, a “clarification was made on Islam,” said the Elysee.
See also on The HuffPost: Confinement in Turkey: Erdogan suspends sale of alcohol, angering secularists