France Summons Turkish Envoy after Erdogan Calls Macron ’Brain Dead’
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France Summons Turkish Envoy after Erdogan Calls Macron ’Brain Dead’

Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Emmanuel Macron’s warning that NATO was dying reflects a “sick and shallow” understanding, telling the French president “you should check whether you are brain dead”. Ahead of a NATO summit next week that both men will attend, tensions have mounted around Turkey’s military operation in Syria, and its role within the trans-Atlantic defense alliance, which is also a member of the fight against ISIS. Macron, complaining of a U.S. leadership vacuum, recently lamented the “brain death” of NATO and says the allies need “a wake-up call.” And on Thursday, he reiterated criticism of Turkey’s operation in northeast Syria against Kurdish fighters who were crucial in the international fight against IS extremists. “I respect the security interests of our Turkish ally ... but one can’t say that we are allies and demand solidarity, and on the other hand, present allies with a fait accompli by a military intervention which jeopardizes the action of the coalition against ISIS,” Macron said at a meeting with the NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg. The comments angered Turkey’s leadership and prompted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to shoot back Friday: “I’m addressing Mr Macron from Turkey and I will say it at NATO: You should get checked whether you’re brain dead.” “Kicking Turkey out of NATO or not, how is that up to you? Do you have the authority to make such a decision?” Erdogan asked, characterizing Macron as "inexperienced." Turkey also criticized Macron for agreeing to talks with a Syrian Kurd politician whom Ankara considers an extremist. On Friday, French officials said they expected substantial clarifications from Erdogan rather than a war of words.  “Let’s be clear, these are not statements, they are insults,” a presidential adviser said. “The president says things clearly. It’s up to Turkey to provide the answers that we and many allies expect.” Macron’s adviser said that beyond the issue of Turkey’s offensive in Syria, its refusal to back a NATO defense plan for the Baltic republics and Poland was unacceptable. “Turkey can’t take the defense plans of Poland and the Baltic countries hostage,” the adviser said. Ankara views the YPG as terrorists with links to militant Kurdish separatists in southeast Turkey. Turkey is refusing to back a NATO defense plan for the three Baltic states and Poland unless it secures more political support from its allies for its fight against Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria.

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