Turkish foreign minister slams Macron for ‘hosting Kurdish terrorists’
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has rebuked French President Emmanuel Macron for his meeting with U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) representatives earlier this year and his recent comments on freedom of expression in Turkey.
Macron in April hosted representatives from the SDF, when he underlined France’s support for the group’s ongoing fight against jihadists in war-torn Syria.
"How many refugees has Macron accepted into his country? Instead, he has hosted terrorists from of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)/People’s Protection Units (YPG) at the Elysee Palace," opposition newspaper Sözcü quoted Çavuşoğlu as saying.
The SDF is a Kurdish-majority umbrella organisation dominated by the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia. Turkey sees the YPG as en existential threat due to its links the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK),which has been fighting an armed insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984. It s labelled a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.
Çavuşoğlu also slammed Macron over his comments on freedom of expression in Turkey and his criticism of Ankara on migration management, saying the French president had "overstepped his limits."
Macron criticised Turkey's policy on Syria as well as freedom of expression in the country during a speech on Wednesday in Strasbourg, France at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
"If Mr. Macron is so sensitive about freedom of expression and press today, why have journalists not been allowed to address the PACE?” Çavuşoğlu said.
"Journalists were excluded from the PACE's 70th anniversary celebration due to the blockage of France. Also, we know that Macron has shut down the media department in the Elysee," the Turkish foreign minister added.
Çavuşoğlu said Macron was like a "rooster crowing while its feet are covered in dirt.’’
The Turkish foreign minister's criticism follows that of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who, in June, said the French president had no right to speak on Cyprus after Macron called on Turkey to halt what he called Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).