Erdogan Lashes Out at France Over Allegedly 'Hosting Terrorists' at Elysee
18:19 07.04.2018(updated 19:00 07.04.2018)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused France of supporting terrorists by "hosting them" at the Elysee Palace, amid a diplomatic row between the NATO allies over Paris' assistance for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
"France is abetting terrorists by hosting them at the presidential palace… as long as you nurture these terrorists, the West will drown," Erdogan told his supporters in the southwestern province of Denizli.
Shortly thereafter a delegation of Syrian Kurdish militia was hosted by the Elysee. Turkish media published detailed information about alleged French Special Forces locations in Northern Syria. The move urged Paris to ask whether the revelations threatened French troops fighting Daesh and Ankara to accuse the French of supporting "terrorists."
Turkey warned France on Thursday that it needed to choose who it wanted as an ally in the fight against Daesh* in Syria and urged it to do what is necessary to ensure Kurdish militias leave the northern Manbij region.
Turkey has criticised the US over sending reportedly mixed messages on Syria, saying Washington was seeding confusion by dodging about its future role in the country.
"The President of the United States says 'We're going to get out of Syria very soon' and then others say, 'No, we are staying'. Obviously, it does create a lot of confusion on the ground, as well as for us. We would like to see some clarity, for them to decide what is the next step, what is the ultimate goal there," President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said, referring to recent comments from US President Donald Trump and other officials.
President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman has also stated that Turkey was talking to Russia about the Syrian town of Tel Rifaat and would not need to intrude in the area given Moscow's convictions that the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia was not present there.
Last month, Turkey said a French promise to help stabilize a region of northern Syria controlled by Kurdish-dominated forces amounted to support for terrorism and could make France a "target of Turkey."
Turkey has long been hostile to the SDF, as it recognizes the group to be an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is indicated a terror organization by the US, the EU, and Turkey, and has fought a bloody war against Ankara for over three decades.
The Turkish military launched operation Olive Branch in January to oust SDF militants from areas in northern Syria near Turkey's southern border. The offensive has yielded considerable territorial gains to Turkey-backed militants, who successfully pushed Kurdish forces out of Afrin and its surrounding settlements.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia
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