French President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey on Tuesday of working with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) proxies and said Ankara’s ambiguity towards the group was detrimental to its NATO allies fighting in Syria and Iraq, according to Reuters.
Relations between Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan soured ahead of Wednesday’s NATO summit in London, with the two leaders trading barbs over Ankara’s cross-border offensive in northeast Syria targeting Kurdish militias.
Speaking alongside US President Donald Trump, Macron directly linked Turkey to ISIL fighters while dismissing Trump’s concerns that Paris was not bringing home French ISIL fighters held by Kurdish groups in Syria.
“The common enemy today is the terrorist groups. I’m sorry to say, we don’t have the same definition of terrorism around the table,” Macron told reporters.
“When I look at Turkey they are fighting against those who fought with us shoulder-to -shoulder against [ISIL] and sometimes they work with [ISIL] proxies.”
Turkey has threatened to block a plan to defend the Baltic States and Poland against Russian attacks unless the alliance backs Ankara in recognizing the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia as a terrorist group.
The YPG’s fighters have long been US and French allies on the ground against ISIL in Syria. Turkey considers them an enemy because of links to Kurdish insurgents in southeastern Turkey.
“I think any ambiguity with Turkey vis-a-vis these groups is detrimental to everybody for the situation on the ground,” Macron said. “The number one [priority] is not to be ambiguous with these groups, which is why we started to discuss our relations with Turkey.”