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What the papers said 26 June 2018

rfi English, Jun 26

President Macron sparks controversy in secular France with a maiden visit to the Vatican; and uncertainty looms in the Middle East after Erdogan's massive win in Turkey's snap elections.

The commentators are all about the sweeping powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after his dramatic victory in Sunday's snap elections.

Le Monde says the autocratic ruler who presented himself to the world for years as the guarantor of Turkey's stability, has since made a U-turn, falling out with Europe over his headlong rush to repression since the failed coup against his rule in 2016.

The publication explains that the tumbling Turkish Lira, which raised fears of an economic downturn coupled with fears of social unrest were the factors that led Erdogan to call elections one year before they were due. According to Le Monde now that he's scaled through the obstacle, nothing can stop him from becoming a "hyperpresident".

L'Humanité heaps the blame on what it calls, the complacency of the super powers who allowed Erdogan to become the key player in the Middle East, allowing him to weave alliances with Russia and Iran which he has exploited to contain the influence of Saudi Arabia in the region, diverting Syrians refugees towards EU countries, while working as a facilitator of US and Israeli interests in the region.

With regard to the migrants crisis tearing EU countries apart, L'Est républicain says another boat christened "Lifeline" is stranded in the Mediterranean with 230 migrants on board which has been turned away by European coast guards.

The paper says that while EU leaders multiply fruitless meetings, refugees continue to board makeshift boats headed for destinations they don't know.

After Sunday's abortive mini summit, it argues, there are enough grounds to be pessimistic about the outcome of the European Council scheduled on Thursday and Friday where the migratory question is expected to put Europe's back to the wall of their contradictions.

Another regional daily L’Union, regrets that the Europe of great voices in defence of humanitarian values and human rights have gone silent in front of the exasperation of voters, as greed has carried the day.

At the look of things it argues, the European mindset is no longer about internal camps and hotspots, platforms for disembarkation and matriculation of migrants, the human trafficking, cracking down on the mafia and halting the influx.

According to L’Union, political parties in Europe now consider the migrants’ crisis as a vicious trap as a dignified treatment of migrants can only aggravate what French President Emmanuel Macron describes as “populist leprosy”.

Talking about President Macron, his first visit to the Vatican is generating a string of passionate reactions, considering the sensitive role played by the church in secular France.

Macron began Tuesday's visit by accepting the title of honorary canon of St John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome, a tradition dating back to the 15th century when the French state and church were indistinguishable. It is worth noting that several of Macron's predecessors, including Socialists Francois Mitterrand and Francois Hollande, declined the title to avoid being associated with religious imagery.

La Croix welcomes the visit describing it "a celebration of converging convictions" on important issues such as greater commitment to saving Planet Earth. But the Catholic daily also acknowledges divergences between the two Catholics on the migrants’ crisis, the fight against poverty and bioethical stakes.

Le Figaro says Macron will be keen on justifying his policy on the migrants crisis which it claims is nonetheless based on realistic solidarity.

Libération points to Macron's Jesuit education claiming that it is normal to see him try to seduce Christians with the symbol of this Vatican visit without alienating secular France.

For Le Républicain Lorrain, it is clearly the Catholic vote that took Macron to the Vatican as universal suffrage has stolen a march over divine will, and the virtues of genuflection.

Some of the papers look forward to France's World Cup match against Denmark this Tuesday in Moscow.

Le Figaro says the result will determine which side moves to the last 16 as Group C leaders. The sports daily l'Equipe, beckons on "les Bleus" to play without calculations and show proof of their team spirit.

The regional daily le Midi Libre cheers Didier Deschamps’ boys up with an appeal for them to colour the French summer skies and realize the dreams of the French people craving for a repeat of the 1998 crowning of Aimé Jacquet's 1998 side as World Champions.

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