Is Macron doctrine biased against Muslim states?
French president should clarify whether France supports ethnic separatism or territorial integrity of states; he can’t have it both ways, Yeni Safak writes in the article Macron doctrine biased against Muslim states: analysis. With only two years to go until the next presidential elections in France, President Emmanuel Macron is conducting a nationalistic foreign policy in a vain attempt at preventing his voters defecting to the Gaullist center-right and far right Marine Le Pen.
Macron’s hardline is visible domestically in new policies to counter Islamic extremism following the beheading last month of French history teacher Samuel Paty by a Chechen-born terrorist. Macron’s hardline abroad is evident in military posturing and support for Christian countries in conflict with Muslim states. An undiplomatic exchange between Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spiraled over new measures to combat Islamic extremism in France. France has come into conflict with Turkey over Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Greece and Azerbaijan. French warships and airplanes sent to support Greece and Cyprus exacerbated tensions further with Turkey.
The Macron Doctrine’s nationalistic foreign policy is biased against Islamic states, therefore undermining France’s chances of mediation in ethnic and military conflicts. Worst still, the Macron Doctrine’s nationalistic foreign policy sends conflicting signals about whether France supports ethnic separatism or the principle of the territorial integrity of states. France has been a long-time member of the Minsk Group of the Organizaton for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), set up in 1995 to resolve the three-decade-long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions were occupied by Armenia in the early 1990s. A 44-day war in September-October of this year led to Azerbaijan taking back all of its territory except northern Nagorno-Karabakh whose fate will be decided in the future. In the Minsk Group, France supports Armenian ethnic separatism in Nagorno-Karabakh, a position which flouts Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. Meanwhile in the Normandy Format and Minsk Protocol, France supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity and opposes separatism.
Macron is thus sending signals that he picks and chooses with regard to the values he supports. Last month, the French Senate called for the recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh with the Azerbaijani parliament responding by demanding that France be removed from co-chairmanship of the Minsk Group. Macron openly supports Armenia, saying, “France reconfirms its future friendship with the Armenian people in view of our close human, cultural and historic ties. We are on Armenia’s side in this dramatic context.” Macron’s and other French politicians’ support for ethnic separatism sends a signal that they cannot be trusted.
France’s nationalistic foreign policy alignment with Christian Greece, Cyprus and Armenia has led to a further plummeting of relations with Turkey and personally between Macron and Erdogan. French experts believe France should instead be taking a more impartial and neutral stance to encourage dialogue rather than hostility in the Mediterranean and reaching an agreement with Turkey. Turkey, an important ally in the fight against terrorism and Islamic extremism, was wrongly excluded from chairmanship of the Minsk Group, which was dealing with a conflict in Turkey’s backyard.
After years of France being AWOL and taking no interest in Nagorno-Karabakh, leaving a vacuum Russia was only too willing to fill, Macron threatened Turkey with EU sanctions for supporting Azerbaijan. Macron seemingly believes post-Brexit that France speaks on behalf of the EU. Brussels though would be reluctant to adopt sanctions against Azerbaijan which had after all only re-taken its sovereign territory. This had been envisaged through negotiations by the 2009 Minsk Groups ‘Madrid Principles’ but had never been implemented because of Armenian intransigence.
Macron is seeking to be more nationalistic domestically and internationally than his Gaullist and far right opponents. The French president should at the very least clarify whether France supports ethnic separatism or the principle of the territorial integrity of states; he can’t have it both ways.