Erdogan says he hopes France will get rid of Macron 'burden' soon

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ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he hoped France would soon get rid of President Emmanuel Macron, describing him as a burden on France which was going through dangerous times.

Ties between Turkey and France, both NATO members, have been particularly tense in recent months over policy differences on Syria and the publishing of caricatures about Prophet Mohammad in France.

“Macron is a burden on France. Macron and France are going through a very dangerous period actually,” Erdogan told reporters, referring to protests in French cities. “My hope is that France gets rid of the Macron trouble as soon as possible.”

Ankara and Paris have also traded accusations over their roles in the Nagorno-Karabkah conflict. France says Turkey fueled fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but populated by ethnic Armenians.

Ankara, which backed its ethnic Turkic kin in Azerbaijan during weeks of fighting which drove Armenian forces from territories around Nagorno-Karabakh, denies this.

Turkey has said France, a co-chair of the Minsk group formed to mediate the issue, was not objective. Erdogan said on Friday that Paris’ status as a mediator was “no more” due to its support for Armenia and slammed a French Senate resolution this week urging that Nagorno-Karabakh be recognised as a republic.

“(Azeri President) Ilham Aliyev had some advice for the French. What did he say? ‘If they love Armenians so much, then they should give Marseilles to the Armenians’. I am making the same recommendation. If they love them so much, they should give Marseilles to the Armenians,” he said.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Dominic Evans