Check your ‘brain death’ first, Erdoğan urges Macron on NATO

Check your ‘brain death’ first, Erdoğan urges Macron on NATO

Check your ‘brain death’ first, Erdoğan urges Macron on NATO

Turkey on Nov. 28 dismissed recent comments by French President Emmanuel Macron against Turkey's anti-terror operation in Syria.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has harshly slammed French President Emmanuel Macron over his criticisms of the Turkish military operation into Syria, while urging him to check his own “brain death” before talking about the status of NATO, in reference to the French president’s remarks that the alliance was suffering a “brain death.”

“The president of France, Mr. Macron, I am saying this to you from Turkey and I will say it at NATO as well. You should first check your own brain death,” Erdoğan said at a groundbreaking ceremony for a university complex in Istanbul on Nov. 29.

Although Erdoğan has referred to Macron’s controversial characterization of the status of NATO, the reason of his anger was because the French president argued that Turkey should not expect solidarity and support from the allies after its unilateral operation in Syria.

Almost all senior Turkish leaders have expressed their annoyance with Macron’s statements, but Erdoğan’s words were the strongest ones.

“The statements of Macron are the reflection of a sick and shallow understanding,” Erdoğan stated.

It’s not up to Macron to discuss whether Turkey should stay in NATO or should be expelled, the Turkish president said, adding, “I have explained to him the threats we are facing from Syria many times. But he never understood. Believe me, he is so inexperienced. He does not know what the fight against terror is. That’s why the ‘Yellow Vests’ movement has occupied almost all of France. He failed to deliver the right of his own citizens.”

Erdoğan also questioned the motives of the French military presence in Syria. “What are you doing there? You have no right to be present there. You have not been invited by the regime either.”

Turkey may resume operations if attacks not stopped

Erdoğan also warned the United States and Russia, with which Turkey made two separate agreements for the termination of its military operations against the YPG in northeastern Syria. Recalling that the attacks by the YPG have killed two troops very recently and that harassment fires have never stopped, Erdoğan urged that Turkey may resume its operations if the YPG does not stop attacking Turkish troops.

“This is not something we can tolerate forever,” he said.

FM Çavuşoğlu: Macron's words have no meaning

"Macron's words, in my eyes, have no meaning," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Nov. 28, adding that the French leader "constantly hosts" terrorists at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Citing a statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Ankara is a NATO ally, Çavuşoğlu urged Macron to stand by its allies.

On Macron's comments that the NATO alliance had become a "brain dead", Çavuşoğlu said the French president disgruntled everyone, including NATO members, and drew criticism from all.

"Right now, there is a void in Europe, he is trying to be its leader," Çavuşoğlu said, adding that with such remarks, Macron could not be the leader of Europe. 

'Disruptive politics'

Following Macron's remarks, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın quoted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who reportedly said the French president continually engaged in "disruptive politics".

"Macron keeps breaking one cup after the other and still wants tea," Kalin said on Twitter.

He was referring to France's sole veto of North Macedonia's accession into the EU, despite "Skopje's having done everything Brussels had asked of it, including changing its name".

According to a recent New York Times report, Merkel told Macron: "I understand your desire for disruptive politics. But I'm tired of picking up the pieces. Over and over, I have to glue together the cups you have broken so we can then sit down and have a cup of tea together."

Macron on Thursday said Turkey should not expect the support of its NATO allies in its anti-terror operation in northern Syria. 

'Macron must confront France's actions in Africa'

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) also slammed Macron's comments, with spokesman Ömer Çelik saying: "Macron should first face the situation of his own country which has held operations all over Africa to protect its colonial interests in disregard to [international] law."

Çelik also said: "Macron's words on Syria is nothing more than France's intention to keep its colonial past in Syria alive with bright sentences."

On Macron's previous comments on NATO, Çelik said that the critics of Turkey's fight against terror work for Europe's "brain death".

'It is unfair to French people too'

Turkey's communications director also slammed Macron's comments.

Blaming NATO for France’s poor policy choices and growing strategic irrelevance is unfair to the longstanding alliance, said Turkey's communications director on Friday. 

“It is unfair to the French people as well,” Fahrettin Altun added in English on Twitter.

Implicitly slamming French President Emmanuel Macron for saying Turkey should not expect NATO support for its anti-terror operation in northern Syria, Altun said NATO can be more relevant and effective if its members work together.

"Every responsible member state and their leaders need to bring their suggestions for reform while pursuing common interest and security for all,” he wrote on Twitter.

"We can transform this organization that corresponds to the security challenges of our time," Altun said.

He added that at every NATO leaders’ summit, Turkey puts forth recommendations and calls on its fellow members to understand Turkey’s national security concerns.

"Turkey has been a key member of the NATO alliance and played a crucial role since the beginning,” he wrote.

"As a staunch member continuing to perform our duties for the alliance, we will seek to improve the effectiveness and relevance of NATO," Altun said.