French cement firm helped SDF build fortifications, Turkey’s Erdoğan says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused French cement firm Lafarge of supplying Turkey’s enemies from its factory in northern Syria.

Ankara launched a military operation against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in areas bordering Turkey this month to drive away what it considers a terrorist threat.

The SDF had built a series of fortifications in the region east of the River Euphrates, and Erdoğan said these were supplied by the French firm.

“Where did they get the cement for all those tunnels? Lafarge,” the Turkish president said during a speech on Wednesday.

Ankara sees the SDF as a terrorist group since it has ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a group that has waged a decades-long fight for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey, and which is also outlawed in France.

However, Paris does not share Ankara’s view of the SDF as a terrorist organisation and has supported the group in its fight against Islamic State and condemned Turkey for attacking it this month.

“France, you pay the price first. You are a government that aids and abets terrorist groups,” Erdoğan said.