Turkey, Politics

Turkey rebuffs 'dishonest' French statement on Afrin

Foreign Ministry spokesman says Afrin was not mentioned during Turkish president's call with French counterpart

Turkey rebuffs 'dishonest' French statement on Afrin File Photo

By Merve Aydogan


Turkey early Wednesday rebuffed a “dishonest” French statement about a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, saying it mischaracterized their discussion of a Syria cease-fire.

"Contrary to a statement by the French presidential office regarding a phone conversation between our President and French President Macron referring to UN Security Council Resolution 2401 regarding the humanitarian situation in Syria, Mr. Macron did not make reference to Afrin,” in northwestern Syria, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.

The French presidential office statement claimed: "The President of the Republic stressed that the humanitarian truce applied to all of Syria, including Afrin, and should be implemented everywhere and by all without any delay to stop the spiral of violence in progress."

Aksoy criticized the statement as "dishonest," stressing that Turkey told French authorities its displeasure at their "giving false information to the public."

The UN Security Council on Saturday passed a resolution calling for a 30-day cease-fire in Syria "without delay."

Turkey has stressed that the cease-fire is meant to give relief to civilian areas hit hard by Assad regime airstrikes, and has nothing to do with Turkey’s counter-terrorist operation in Afrin, northwestern Syria.

On Tuesday Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the cease-fire resolution does not apply to Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, which is meant to “clear out bloody terrorist groups to rescue the civilians living there."

Turkey launched the operation on Jan. 20 to clear the PYD/YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorist groups from Afrin, just across Turkey’s border, to protect the border and protect civilians on both sides.

In contrast with Assad regime attacks targeting civilians, Turkey’s operation has taken great care to avoid any harm to civilians.

The UN cease-fire resolution in particular is meant to provide humanitarian and medical relief to the battered Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the target of a five-year Assad regime siege and continued attacks killing hundreds of people, despite the resolution passed on Saturday.

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