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Turkey lashes out at Macron over NATO comments

Turkey lashes out at Macron over NATO comments
Copyright Bertrand Guay/Pool via REUTERS
Copyright Bertrand Guay/Pool via REUTERS
By Rachael KennedyLauren Chadwick
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French President Emmanuel Macron has stood by the damning comments he made to The Economist last month in which said allies were experiencing the 'brain death' of NATO. During a press conference, he defended the comments and criticised Turkey's incursion into Syria.


French President Emmanuel Macron criticised Turkey while speaking in Paris on Thursday after a meeting with NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Turkey should not have presented their military intervention as a "fait accompli" while "jeopardising the coalition fight against [the so-called Islamic State]", Macron said.

"I hope that we will have a discussion as allies, on our solid engagement in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel and in the Middle East. The intervention led by Turkey in the northeast of Syria posed real questions that we should address with them," he said.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu dismissed the remarks stating that Macron sponsors terrorism.

He went on to criticise Macron's leadership, stating that it was "wobbling". He told Macron to stand with his allies.

Macron met with Jihane Ahmed, the spokeswoman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), last month.

Turkey is a member of NATO and the remarks come ahead of a summit between NATO members in London on December 3-4.

'Brain death'

Macron also stood by his damning comments about the "brain death" of NATO. The French president said he thought the alliance needed "a wake-up call", and that he was "pretty glad" about the outcome.

"I fully stand by what I did in lifting the ambiguities," he said during a joint press conference with Stoltenberg.

He added: "We had the responsibility of not simply continuing to talk about financial issues given what the genuine challenges are today."

Earlier in the conference, Stoltenberg insisted the NATO alliance remained "strong" as allies were "doing more together than they have for decades".

He maintained that it was natural for the 29 members to have their differences, adding that a future focus would be placed on efforts to "modernise" the treaty.

It comes after Macron heavily criticised the transatlantic treaty in an interview with The Economist last month — a comment that sparked criticisms from fellow members.

Stoltenberg later rejected the notion during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and warned Macron — who is known for his desire for a European army — that "European unity cannot replace transatlantic unity".

The Norwegian then reiterated his point in the press conference on Thursday.

Macron and Stoltenberg said the alliance would look toward redefining its purpose and its ultimate goals, including looking toward tackling a common enemy — terrorism.

READ MORE: Turkish Defence Minister responds to Macron

Additional sources • Reuters

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