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Turkey rejects France 'insults' on Syria incursion

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Turkey has hit back at France's warning over Ankara's military campaign against US-backed Kurdish militants in Syria, describing it as insulting. reports citing Press TV.

"We consider a country like France giving us reminders about an operation we are carrying out in accordance with international laws to be insults," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara on Thursday.

He made the remarks one day after French President Emmanuel Macron warned Turkey that the operation in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin should not become an excuse to invade the Arab country.

“If it turns out that this operation takes a turn other than to fight a potential terrorist threat to the Turkish border and becomes an invasion operation, (then) this becomes a real problem for us,” Macon told Le Figaro newspaper.

In response, the top Turkish diplomat referred to France's colonial past, saying, "We are not France, which occupied Africa."

He said Turkey was using its right to self-defense. "This is in line with UN Security Council decisions and not an invasion," he said.

Cavusoglu further blasted European leaders for being "two-faced," saying they had initially voiced support for Turkey's Syria campaign during talks in Ankara, but changed their stance later in public comments.

Turkey launched the so-called Operation Olive Branch in Afrin on January 20 in a bid to eliminate the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

Turkey has warned that the Afrin offensive could expand to the nearby Syrian city of Manbij.

Speaking on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim reacted to Macron's warning and dismissed any suggestion that Ankara had broader plans in Syria as "totally wrong".

“This is a crooked idea from the start. The whole world knows that Turkey is not acting with an invasive mind. They should know it," he said, emphasizing that the Syria operation was solely meant to safeguard Turkey’s security and target “terrorist organizations.”

2018.02.01 / 18:14
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