Turkey reacts to France’s UNSC call: You will be siding with terrorists

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (L) and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari (R) hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Baghdad, Iraq on January 21, 2018. Cem Ozdel / Anadolu Agency

Turkey on Sunday warned France over its call for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Syria following Turkish operations targeting the Afrin region of Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“If France or any other country takes this issue [the Afrin operation] to the UN, for us, it will be positioned beside not us but beside a terrorist organization. And it will be treated by us accordingly,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in Baghdad.

“We expect France to support us in such cases. We don’t want them to side with a terrorist organization,” he added.

Çavuşoğlu on Sunday spoke on the phone with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, about the Turkish operations in Afrin.

The ambassadors of UNSC members the US, Russia, UK, France and China were summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Saturday and informed of the Turkish operations in Afrin.

Paris on Sunday called an emergency meeting of the UNSC over developments in Syria.

“Ghouta, Idlib, Afrin — France asks for an urgent meeting of the Security Council,” French Foreign Minister Le Drian tweeted, Anadolu reported.

“France is attentive to the security of Turkey, its territory and its borders. It calls on the Turkish authorities to act with restraint in a difficult context where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating in several regions of Syria as a result of the military operations carried out there by the regime of Damascus and its allies,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Turkish Armed Forces backed by armored vehicles, special forces and infantry regiments have advanced five kilometers inside Afrin.

Turkey views the PYD as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Sunday said Turkey was going to establish a 30-kilometer-deep secure zone in Afrin.

“All sorts of logistical support [to the PYD] will be our target,” Yıldırım said when asked what would happen if the US were to give logistical support to PYD militants.

Underlining that there are about 8-10,000 militants in Afrin, Yıldırım said they would settle new refugees outside Turkey’s border if a new influx starts due to the operation in Afrin.

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