Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday slammed as “unacceptable” recent remarks on NATO by French President Emmanuel Macron, who claimed the alliance was experiencing “brain death” and deplored Turkey’s actions in Syria, the France24 news website reported.
Hosting his counterpart in the Oval Office, US President Donald Trump said Erdoğan was “very disappointed in the statement made by France” regarding NATO.
“I think that bothered the president very much,” Trump said. “I think a lot of other people feel that way too.”
“Unacceptable,” added the Turkish leader, speaking through an interpreter.
In an interview earlier this month, the French president decried what he called a lack of coordination between Europe and the United States and lamented recent unilateral action in Syria by Turkey, a NATO member.
“You have no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies. None,” Macron told The Economist.
“You have an uncoordinated aggressive action by another NATO ally, Turkey, in an area where our interests are at stake,” he added.
Turkey’s latest military operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria was strongly opposed by fellow NATO members like France but made possible by a withdrawal of US forces ordered by Trump.
In the interview Macron asked what NATO’s mutual self-defense pact, enshrined in Article 5 of its founding treaty, might mean in the future, and pondered whether it could be invoked if President Bashar al-Assad’s forces retaliate against Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria.
Macron also said that while “it’s not in our interest” to expel Turkey from the alliance — as has been urged by some politicians — member states should “reconsider what NATO is.”