- The Washington Times
Thursday, November 28, 2019

Turkey’s foreign minister on Thursday claimed French President Emmanuel Macron is a sponsor of terrorism after Mr. Macron criticized Ankara’s ongoing military campaign in northeast Syria against U.S.-backed Kurdish militia that has left hundreds dead and tens of thousands displaced from their homes.

Speaking to reporters, Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said Mr. Macron “is already the sponsor of the terrorist organization and constantly hosts them at the Elysee. If he says his ally is the terrorist organization … there is really nothing more to say,” Reuters reported.

The comments came just one month after Mr. Macron met with a spokeswoman for the Syrian Democratic Forces — which Washington had long supported in the fight against the Islamic State — in a move to express solidarity with France in their fight against ISIS in Syria.

Hours prior to Mr. Çavuşoğlu’s statement, Mr. Macron said it is “fait accompli,” or an accomplished fact, that Turkey should not expect support from fellow members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the wake of the military incursion.

Mr. Çavuşoğlu later responded, “right now, there is a void in Europe, [Mr. Macron] is trying to be its leader, but leadership comes naturally.”

Ties between Turkey and NATO allies including the U.S. have grown increasingly strained in recent months following Ankara’s acquisition of a Russian-made missile defense system and, more recently, their move to invade a key region in northeast Syria last month after President Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops, potentially leaving the Kurds at the mercy of Syrian, Russian and Turkish forces.

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