France warns Turkey over Syrian operation

Turkish army tank
Turkish army tank

French President Emmanuel Macron warned Turkey that its operation against Kurdish militias in northern Syria should not become an excuse to invade the country and said he wanted Ankara to coordinate its action with its allies.

Turkey last week launched an air and ground offensive in northwest Syria, targeting the Kurdish YPG militia in the Afrin region. That has opened a new front in the seven-year-old civil war and strained ties with Turkey’s NATO allies.

“If it turns out that this operation takes a turn other than to fight a potential terrorist threat to the Turkish border and becomes an invasion operation, (then) this becomes a real problem for us,” Macon said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper published on Wednesday.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade-long insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim defended the operation saying it was solely aimed at securing his country’s security and protecting Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens from “terrorist organizations.”

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) is shown with  visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in Ankara
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) is shown with visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in Ankara

“If France is interpreting this issue as such (invasion operation), we need to assess what they have done in Syria accordingly,” Yildirum said at a news conference alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in Ankara.

“This is a crooked idea from the start. The whole world knows that Turkey is not acting with an invasive mind. They should know it.”

The United States and France have armed and trained YPG-led militia in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

Macron said he would bring the issue up again with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and that the nature of the operation meant there should be discussions between Europeans, but also more widely among allies.


  • Niemals

    Erdoğan had announced a quick victory over Kurdish fighters in Afrin. Funeral of a Turkish soldier in Isparta
    But the operation “olive branch” is getting bloodier.
    Even US soldiers could become “terrorists” from the Turkish point of view.

    The Turkish army had recorded the most lossy day since the beginning of the offensive, seven soldiers killed Five of them had died in the shelling of a tank.

    Erdoğan refused to confirm media reports that the Turkish tank had been hit by a US missile. There are initial findings, but no final conclusion about who delivered the rocket, so Erdogan. As soon as there is clarity, “we will share this with the world”. Whoever delivered the rocket, made common cause with “terrorists,” added the Turkish president. Protests in Afrin against the Turkish military operation

    Afrin’s semi-autonomous Kurdish government urged the international community, and Russia in particular, to stop the Turkish “aggression”.
    The YPG and representatives of Afrin’s administration suspect the Kremlin of implicitly approving the Turkish offensive because Russia has since withdrawn its Afrin-based forces.(afp, dpa)