PARIS, In an extension of sharp exchanges between France and Turkey, the French Foreign Ministry is to summon Friday the Turkish envoy to Paris after perceived “insults” by Turkey concerning President Emmanuel Macron.
The clashes erupted on Thursday after Macron questioned Turkey’s incursion into northeast Syria several months ago, after the withdrawal of US forces in the region.
France criticized the Turkish incursion as it threatened the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces which were crucial in helping overcome so-called Islamic State deployments in the region.
Macron’s remarks, after a meeting here with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, also criticized Turkey for purchasing Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems which are not compatible with NATO weapons systems.
Turkey responded almost immediately to Macron’s remarks yesterday, accusing France of sponsoring (Kurdish) terrorism and of hosting terrorists regularly in Paris.
Macron had also renewed his attack on the NATO organization which he said “was experiencing brain death.” Turkey labels the YPG Kurdish forces in the SDF as terrorists and invaded northern Syria to set up a buffer zone on the joint border between the two countries.
But Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan went further on Friday and accused Macron personally of “brain death,” an insult that cannot be let stand, according to the Elysee Palace, which has ordered the summoning of the Turkish ambassador to France to hear a protest at the Foreign Ministry.
France Info radio said that explanations will be demanded of the Turkish envoy.
The dispute takes place just ahead of the NATO summit in Britain on December 3-4, which will be attended by both Macron and Erdogan.
France has consistently called for protecting the SDF fighters because of their crucial role in fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, but Turkey has ignored such views by its attacks against the Kurds.
Source: Kuwait News Agency