Turkey says France ‘mischaracterized’ presidential phone call over Syria

Turkey says France ‘mischaracterized’ presidential phone call over Syria

Turkey says France ‘mischaracterized’ presidential phone call over Syria

Turkey early Feb. 28 refuted a French statement about a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, saying it was “dishonest” and mischaracterized their discussion of a Syria cease-fire, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

“Contrary to a statement by the French presidential office regarding a phone conversation between our president and French President Macron referring to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2401 regarding the humanitarian situation in Syria, Mr. Macron did not make reference to Afrin [in northwestern Syria],” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.

The French presidential office’s statement published on Feb. 26 had said: “The president of the Republic stressed that the humanitarian truce applied to all of Syria, including Afrin, and should be implemented everywhere and by all without any delay to stop the spiral of violence in progress.”

Aksoy called the statement “dishonest,” stressing that Turkey conveyed to French authorities its displeasure at their “giving false information to the public.”

The U.N. Security Council on Feb. 24 passed a resolution calling for a 30-day cease-fire in Syria “without delay.”

Turkey has stressed the cease-fire is meant to give relief to civilian areas hit hard by the Bashar al-Assad regime’s airstrikes, and is not related to Turkey’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in Afrin against the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

On Feb. 27, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the cease-fire resolution does not apply to Turkey’s operation in Afrin.

“There is a cleaning operation against terrorist organizations to save civilians living there [in Afrin], not an operation against civilians there. The focus of the resolution was not operations against terrorist organizations, but to end the massacre of civilians in Eastern Ghouta,” he said.

Turkey considers the YPG a terror group due to its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terror network by the U.S. and the European Union.