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Erdogan attacks Macron as ‘brain dead’ after French leader’s Syria criticism

Turkish leader lashes out at France’s president, calls him ‘a novice’; Macron’s office says Turkish envoy in Paris will be summoned to answer for ‘insults’

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, sits by French President Emmanuel Macron during a news conference following a summit on Syria, in Istanbul, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, sits by French President Emmanuel Macron during a news conference following a summit on Syria, in Istanbul, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out on Friday at counterpart Emmanuel Macron after the French leader strongly criticized fellow NATO member Turkey’s intervention against Kurdish forces in Syria.

In recent much-publicized comments, Macron claimed that NATO was suffering “brain death” due to the lack of strategic cooperation among members.

“I am talking to France’s President Emmanuel Macron, and I will also say this at NATO. First of all, have your own brain death checked. These statements are suitable only to people like you who are in a state of brain death,” Erdogan said in a televised speech.

“You know how to show off but you cannot even properly pay for NATO. You are a novice,” Erdogan said.

French President Emmanuel Macron (Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP)

“Believe me, Macron is very inexperienced. He doesn’t know what fighting against terror is. That is why yellow vests invaded France,” he added, referring to the French protest movement of the past year.

Macron has strongly opposed Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish militants in Syria, launched last month, and reiterated on Thursday that it “endangers the actions of the anti-IS [Islamic State] coalition, of which NATO is a member.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP)

Erdogan said Ankara had a right to intervene in Syria given their shared border.

“What is your business in Syria?” he said, addressing Macron.

“Jump up and down as much as you like… You will respect Turkey’s right to fighting against terrorism sooner or later. There is no other way.”

Turkish soldiers in the town of Ras al Ayn in northeastern Syria, October 23, 2019. (Ugur Can/DHA via AP)

The French president’s office said the government would summon the Turkish envoy in Paris for talks after the “insults” by Erdogan.

“This is not a statement, these are insults,” an Elysee official said, adding: “The ambassador will be summoned to the ministry to explain things.”

The official added that France had “no comment to make on these insults.”

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