Turkey on Thursday fired back at remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron about Ankara’s military operation against Kurds in northern Syria, describing them as “insults.”
Macron on Wednesday warned Turkey that the operation in the Afrin region should not become an excuse to invade Syria and that he wanted Ankara to coordinate its action with its NATO allies.
Turkey launched the air and ground offensive, dubbed “Operation Olive Branch”, nearly two weeks ago to target the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin.
But the incursion has put pressure on relations with the West, particularly the United States, which has backed the Kurdish fighters and has its own troops on the ground supporting them in other parts of Syria.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday that France was in no position to “teach a lesson” to Turkey.
“We are using our right to self defense, this is in line with UN Security Council decisions and not an invasion. They shouldn’t be two-faced,” he told reporters in Ankara.
France, like the United States, has extended arms and training to a YPG-led militia in the fight against ISIS in Syria. That has infuriated Turkey, which considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighting an insurgency inside Turkey.