Turkey labels France’s Macron a ‘terror sponsor’
The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of being a “sponsor of terrorism”, in response to the centrist leader’s criticism of Turkey’s invasion of Syria.
Cavusoglu said Macron was “wobbling” in his aim to become the leader of Europe.
Macron in October hosted an official from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). An arm of the group, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), is regarded as a terrorist organisation by Ankara.
But the move prompted criticism of Turkey that it was weakening the fight against scattered Isis militants with the attack on the YPG, which had been leading the fight against the extremist movement.
Turkey and France are next week due to attend a Nato summit in the UK.
And Macron says he stands by his remarks in early November that Nato was “brain dead”.
Macron criticised Nato’s failure to respond to Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria.
Cavusoglu said of Macron: “He is already the sponsor of the terrorist organisation and constantly hosts them at the Elysee. If he says his ally is the terrorist organisation… there is really nothing more to say.
“Right now, there is a void in Europe, [the French president] is trying to be its leader, but leadership comes naturally.”
Macron held talks in Paris in early October with SDF spokeswoman Jihane Ahmed.
Macron’s office said the meeting was to express France’s solidarity with the SDF in its fight against so-called Islamic State. Turkey launched its attack on Syria the next day.
Macron has repeatedly criticised both the sudden US withdrawal of support for the Kurds and Ankara’s subsequent invasion of Syria.
After talks with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg yesterday (Thursday) in Paris, Macron again spoke out against Turkey’s attack on the YPG.
“I respect the security interests of our Turkish ally, which has suffered numerous attacks on its soil,” Macron said.
“But you cannot, on the one hand, say we are allies and demand solidarity in that regard and on the other hand present your allies with the fait accompli of a military operation that endangers the actions of the anti-IS coalition of which Nato is a member.”
Turkey’s size and geographical position make it key to Nato. Macron on November 7 criticised declining commitment to Nato by its US guarantors.
“I totally stand by raising these ambiguities because I believe it was irresponsible of us to keep talking about financial and technical matters given the stakes we currently face,” he told the media.
The YPG. Picture credit: Wikimedia