Turkey’s EU minister slams French FM’s remarks on Afrin operation
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
France’s foreign minister has made the worst possible statement on the Turkish-led “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria, Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik said on Feb. 7 on his Twitter account.
Çelik criticized French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s statement claiming that Turkey had targeted civilians in the operation and “violated international law.”
“It is Turkey’s legitimate right to ensure the security of its borders. However, ensuring the security of borders does not mean that you can kill civilians,” Le Drian had said.
He called Le Drian’s remarks “the worst and the wrongest possible statement” on the operation.
“Turkey’s fight against terrorism is fully in line with international law. The ones who violate law and commit crimes are the ones who provide arms to the PYD/YPG [Democratic Union Party/People’s Protection Units],” Celik added.
He said Le Drian’s statement showed “double standard on terrorism.”
“The ones who refrain to mention our citizens killed by the terrorist organization now present a non-existing picture as reality. This is just ignoring the massacres of the terrorist organization we’re fighting in Afrin,” he added.
Turkish foreign ministry spokesman criticizes France’s remarks
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy on Feb. 8 responded to Le Drian’s statement about the ongoing operation.
His remarks came after Le Drian claimed Turkey had targeted civilians in the operation and “violated international law.”
“Our country is determined to use its legitimate right to self-defense to the furthest extent,” Aksoy said in a written statement.
“We expect our allies to take part in the fight against terrorist organizations in Afrin and not fall in a position that supports terrorist organizations with the steps they take and the words they utter,” Aksoy said.
“The operation Turkey is conducting, on contrary to the claims of the French minister, is preventing the addition of a new war to the war in Syria. We expect our allies to see this fact,” he added.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” to remove YPG militants from Syria’s northwestern Afrin district.