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Middle East

Erdogan tells French foreign minister to mind his own business

media Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to mind his own business after Ayrault advised him not to use last week's failed coup as a "black cheque" to silence his opponents.

"Does he [Ayrault] have the authority to make these declarations about my person?" Erdogan asked in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV. "No, he does not. If he wants a lesson in democracy, he can very easily get a lesson in democracy from us."

Some 50,000 state employees have been either detained or fired since the abortive coup and over 20,000 people have been sacked from state education and a similar number in private education have had their licences withdrawn, while 99 generals and admirals have been remanded.

"Of course that does not mean we have come to the end of it," Erdogan told Al Jazeera.

A Security Council meeting on Wednesday declared a state of emergency, a measure that has been in operation in France since the November Paris attacks and has just been extended by French MPs.

Other foreign politicians have urged restraint on Erdogan.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed it was "vital that the state of emergency is limited for the required time and then immediately lifted" adding that "Only acts which are legally punishable can be targeted, not political opinion."

US Secretary of State John Kerry said it was important that the response to the coup "fully respects that democracy that we are supporting".

And EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that "the rule of law has to be protected in the country .... There is no excuse for any steps that takes the country away from that."

The Turkish government says 312 people were killed in the coup, including 145 civilians, 60 police, three soldiers and 104 plotters.

To read our coverage of Turkey's November 2015 election click here

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