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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, in January. Photo: Emmanuele Contini/Getty Images

France is recalling its ambassador to Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron "needs mental treatment," officials told AFP Saturday.

Why it matters: The action by France is highly unusual. It comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two NATO allies. Erdoğan's comments were in response to Macron's reaction to the killing of a teacher near Paris, who'd shown students cartoons of Islam's Prophet Mohammed during a classroom discussion.

  • Macron described the beheading earlier this month as an "Islamist terrorist attack" and defended the teaching of freedom of expression in the secular country.

What they're saying: "What can one say about a head of state who treats millions of members from different faith groups this way: first of all, have mental checks," Erdoğan said in a televised address in Kayseri, in the Central Anatolia Region of the overwhelmingly Muslim but secular country, per the Guardian.

  • "What’s the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims? Macron needs mental treatment."

The other side: "President Erdoğan's comments are unacceptable," a French official said to AFP.

  • "Excess and rudeness are not a method. We demand that Erdoğan change the course of his policy because it is dangerous in every respect."

Of note: The two countries have also clashed in recent months on the conflict in Syria, the deadly clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and an arms embargo on Libya.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 14, 2021 - Health

New mental health online service set to launch

Screenshot of Pace mental health app. Credit: Pace

A team of Silicon Valley veterans is launching a new service that will address mental health issues through online group sessions.

Why it matters: The pandemic has led to a worsening of mental health, as traditional in-person therapy has been largely curtailed. New services like Pace that aim to address mental health issues remotely could help close that gap.

Updated 35 mins ago - Sports

MLB headed for first lockout since '95 as deal expires

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (L) and Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark. Photo: Matt King/MLB via Getty Images

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday without a new deal in place.

Why it matters: With no CBA, the MLB is headed for the first management lockout since a 1994-95 strike led to the cancelation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

Media giants back Bannon's bid to release Jan. 6 documents

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon at the FBI Washington Field Office in Washington, DC., in November. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A coalition of news outlets including the Washington Post is supporting Stephen Bannon's campaign for the release of documents related to his contempt of Congress charges, WashPost confirmed Wednesday.

Why it matters: WashPost, the New York Times, CNN, NBC, the Wall Street Journal's parent company and others filed a motion arguing that a proposed protective order seeking to prevent the documents from being released violates the First Amendment, per the Daily Mail, which first reported on the news.