French president and Turkish foreign minister have been throwing verbal punches over Ankara’s military incursion into Syria that drove a wedge between NATO members.
French President Emmanuel Macron warned Turkey on Thursday that it is alienating allies, and should not depend on support from the multinational alliance while also carrying out widely-condemned military operations against Kurds in northern Syria as a “fait accompli.”
Mevlut Cavusoglu was quick to respond, slamming Marcon for previous meetings with Kurdish representatives.
“He is already the sponsor of the terrorist organization and constantly hosts them at the Elysee. If he says his ally is the terrorist organization…there is really nothing more to say,” Cavusoglu told reporters in parliament. He went on with more attacks on Macron’s foreign politics, saying that the French president “cannot be the leader of Europe by wobbling like this.”
“Right now, there is a void in Europe, he is trying to be its leader,” Cavusoglu retorted.
Ankara’s Operation Peace Spring, which started in early October, targeted Kurdish forces in northern Syria who it considers “terrorists.” Even though Turkey insisted the operation is necessary for the safe return of Syrian refugees to their homeland, the incursion has been condemned by NATO allies. Turkish-backed forces have also been accused of serious abuses and war crimes during the operation.
In the midst of the operation, Macron hosted Jihane Ahmed, the spokeswoman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to show France’s support with them in their fight against Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
Angered by the lack of support its Syria operations have received from the alliance, Turkey, the second largest force in NATO, reportedly would not support the alliance’s defense proposal for Poland and the Baltics. The bloc’s new military plan against what it claims to be a threat from Russia needs a unanimous approval by all member states.