NATO Summit

Strained Turkey-France Relationship Threatens Upcoming NATO Summit

in Politics

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusogula has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of being a “sponsor of terrorism”. The statement from the Foreign Minister comes ahead of the NATO summit in the UK.

The critical statement from Cavusogula might also be in response to the French President hosting the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) spokeswoman Jihane Ahmed last month, as the Turkish government considers YPG, a section of the group, as terrorists.

Speaking with the reporters, Cavusoglu said, “He [Macron] is already the sponsor of the terrorist organisation and constantly hosts them at the Elysee. If he says his ally is the terrorist organisation… there is really nothing more to say. Right now, there is a void in Europe, [Macron] is trying to be its leader, but leadership comes naturally.”

Seeing Turkey and its stance in last few months, the statement, before the NATO summit, is possibly an attempt to shift focus of its weapon purchase from Russia and attack on Syrian Kurdish forces, who were an ally of US-led coalition against ISIS.

These two events did not go well with the US, who condemned the Turkish administration for launching attacks on Syrian Kurdish fighters and threatened them of sanctions as well. The US administration also criticized Turkish authorities for purchasing Russian missile system S-400 despite their warnings.

Apart from the US administration, French counterparts also criticized Turkey for the same. But Turkey did not take the criticism constructively and now is accusing France of sponsoring terrorism, right before the NATO summit next week, where Syria will be largely discussed. 

While Macron can escape the criticism for associating with the SDF, he might have to deal with the consequences of his past statement with regard to NATO. Moreover, he refused to apologize for his “brain death” statement.

Speaking with the media, he said, “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO. I don’t know [whether Article Five remains in effect]. But what will Article Five mean tomorrow? [NATO] only works if the guarantor of last resort functions as such. I’d argue that we should reassess the reality of what NATO is in the light of the commitment of the United States.”

The strained France-Turkey relations, ahead of the NATO summit week, would make the alliance difficult. However, it remains to be seen if the NATO allies can find a solution for the issue or not.

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