Erdogan hits back at 'brain dead' Macron over NATO, Syria comments

ISTANBUL, Anindita Ramaswamy and Ergin Hava (dpa)- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at France's Emmanuel Macron, calling him "brain dead" for his recent comments about the state of NATO and Ankara's offensive in Syria.
"Mr Macron, look I am saying from Turkey and I will repeat this at NATO: You first have your brain death checked. Because, such remarks are only befitting those of your kind, who are brain dead," Erdogan said in Istanbul on Friday.

They will see each other next week in London at NATO's 70th anniversary summit. On Tuesday, Erdogan, French President Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet separately to discuss the situation in Syria.
In a recent interview with The Economist, Macron said the transatlantic military alliance was suffering "brain death," citing NATO member Turkey's operation against the Western-allied, Kurdish-led forces who helped defeat Islamic State in Syria.
Erdogan mocked Macron's remarks as "an example of ... sick ideology."
The Turkish ambassador to France was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Paris over the comments, sources at the Elysee Palace told dpa. What Erdogan said was not by way of an explanation, it was an insult, they said.
On Thursday, at a press conference alongside NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Macron referred to Turkey's incursion in north-eastern Syria, which was launched on October 9 and drew condemnation from many of Ankara's European allies.
Macron noted that you can't say the allies must show solidarity on the one hand, while on the other hand presenting them with the fait accompli of a military intervention that imperils gains made against Islamic State by a coalition of which NATO is a member.
He defended his "brain death" comments, arguing that the alliance needed a wake-up call.
"He (Macron) knows best that Turkey is not pursuing any sort of fait accompli in Syria," Erdogan said.
"I have repeatedly explained to [Macron] ... the threats from Syria against our country and the response we will give. But he does not understand. Believe me, he is very inexperienced." 
He came out swinging against Macron over France's presence in Syria, without having "the slightest link" to the country.
"We have a 911-kilometre-long border with Syria ... We have the right to enter Syria to fight terrorism. Which agreement allows you to enter Syria? What business are you after?" Erdogan questioned.
He next slammed Macron for not knowing how to fight terrorism.
"That is why the Yellow Vests have invaded all of France. So, go ahead and solve this ... They are your citizens but you cannot protect their rights," Erdogan said of the year-long protest movement that initially targeted planned fuel tax hikes and subsequently the cost of living.
President Donald Trump's decision to pull back US troops from north-eastern Syria and abandon its Syrian Kurdish partners paved the way for Turkey's incursion
Europe needs to "regain military sovereignty" as the US turns away, Macron told The Economist, adding that Washington has been "looking elsewhere" over the past decade.

Saturday, November 30th 2019
Anindita Ramaswamy and Ergin Hava (dpa)

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