Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has accused European countries of being hypocritical when speaking abouta military operation Turkey launched in northern Syria last month over recent remarks from French President Emmanuel Macron.
In an interview published by the French newspaper Le Figaro on Wednesday, 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 actions with its 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,” Macron said.
Responding to Macron’s remarks in Ankara on Thursday, Çavuşoğlu said: “They know very well what the goal of this operation is. We informed them [European countries]. The Afrin operation is not an invasion. Unfortunately, Europeans have a habit of acting with hypocrisy. When you speak face-to-face, they give messages of support. Then, they speak like this. We are not like France, which went and invaded African countries. France cannot give us a lesson on this subject.”
The air and ground offensive Turkey launched in northwest Syria on Jan.20, targets the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK has been waging a three-decade-long insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish Southeast.