Photo: Reuters

France questions Turkish commitment to NATO

French President Emanuel Macron declared that Turkey cannot expect solidarity from its NATO allies after having launched a military offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in northeast Syria.  Macron made the statements in Paris, during a visit by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

After stating that he respected “the security interests of our Turkish ally who has suffered many terrorist attacks on its soil,” the French leader rebuked Ankara, saying “But one cannot on one hand say that we are allies, and with respect to this demand our solidarity; and on the other hand, put its allies in the face of a military offensive done as a ‘fait accompli’, which endangers the action of the coalition against Islamic State, of which NATO is part.”

Macron further stressed that Turkey’s actions in northeastern Syria have brought up real questions about its commitments and true intentions. “Proclaiming commitment to collective security is not enough,” he said, “You must show it. A real alliance is about actions, decisions, not words.” He then expressed his hope “to have a real discussion between allies on our concrete engagements in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel, as in the Levant region,” explaining that “A military invasion carried out by Turkey in northeast Syria has brought up real questions which must be tackled.”

Turkish Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu not only dismissed Macron’s criticism but accused the French leader of sponsoring terrorist organizations.

“He is already the sponsor of the terrorist organization, and constantly hosts them at the Elysee Palace,” alleged the Turkish top diplomat, who insisted “If he says his ally is the terrorist organization we have an answer for this, but there is really nothing more to say.”

The comments were in reference last month’s meeting between President Macron and Jihane Ahmed, who is the spokeswoman for the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces of which the YPG is a significant part. The talks served as an expression of French solidarity with the SDF in its fight against Islamic State in Syria – which infuriated Turkey, as it considers the YPG to be a terror organization.

Speaking from Ankara, Minister Cavusoglu further claimed “Macron cannot be the leader of Europe with shifting attitudes. Right now, there is a void in Europe, he is trying to be its leader, but this an artificial behavior. The leadership comes naturally with qualifications and policies.”