Turkey threatens France over plan to deploy troops in support of Syrian Kurds

by WorldTribune Staff, April 2, 2018

France could become a “target of Turkey” if it follows through on a pledge to send troops to northern Syria in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Turkish official warned.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

French President Emmanuel Macron met an SDF delegation on March 29 and gave assurances of French support to stabilize northern Syria. A presidential source later said France could increase its military contribution to the U.S.-led coalition which – alongside the SDF – is fighting Islamic State in Syria, Reuters reported.

“Those who enter into cooperation and solidarity with terror groups against Turkey … will, like the terrorists, become a target of Turkey,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag tweeted. “We hope France does not take such an irrational step.”

Turkey considers the Kurdish YPG, which is a key part of the SDF, to be a terrorist extension of Kurdish militants who have waged a decades-old insurgency in southeast Turkey.

Turkish forces drove the YPG from the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin last month and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated Ankara is preparing to extend military operations along hundreds of miles of border, including areas where American forces are deployed.

Macron had also offered to mediate between Turkey and the SDF, a suggestion Erdogan dismissed, the Reuters report said.

“Do not engage in things beyond you, we do not need a mediator,” Erdogan said. “Who are you to speak of mediation between Turkey and a terrorist organization?”

Erdogan went on to say that Macron would be held accountable for his policy by his own people.

“We hope France doesn’t come to us for help when the terrorists running from Syria and Iraq fill their country after being encouraged by their policy,” Erdogan said.

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