Published: Sat, November 30, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Turkey 'May Stall NATO Defense Plan Over Syria Dispute'

Turkey 'May Stall NATO Defense Plan Over Syria Dispute'

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday dismissed French President Emmanuel Macron's criticism of Turkey's offensive in Syria against the Kurdish YPG militia, saying the French leader sponsors terrorism.

"I'm addressing Mr Macron from Turkey and I will say it at NATO: You should check whether you are brain dead first", Erdogan said.

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Ambassador Ismail Hakki Musa was summoned Friday to explain "unacceptable statements. that have no place in Turkish-French relations and can not substitute for the necessary dialogue between the two countries".

The war of words set the stage for what is likely to be a fractious North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit outside London next week, which will be attended by both Macron and Erdogan as well as US President Donald Trump. Articles appear on for a limited time. Turkey is also a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Turkey views a section of the group - the YPG - as terrorists.

Erdogan is the most recent head of state to disagree with Macron's dismissal of the transatlantic alliance.

Turkey on October 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

"He doesn't know what fighting against terror is".

Macron said in an interview three weeks ago there was a lack of strategic coordination between European allies on the one hand and the United States and Turkey, on the other.

The official added that France had "no comment to make on these insults".

Erdogan said Ankara had a right to intervene in Syria given the two countries' shared border.

"Right now, there is a void in Europe, (Macron) is trying to be its leader, but leadership comes naturally", he told reporters in parliament.

"Both with security and economic policies, we will carry Turkey to a much stronger tomorrow, and income levels will begin to grow stronger than before".

Didier Billion, a researcher at the French Institute for worldwide and Strategic Affairs, described the deterioration in relations between France and Turkey as "nearly as serious as during the time of (ex-president Nicolas) Sarkozy".

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