Turkey

Turkey condemns French cooperation with PKK/YPG

Attack on Turkish army observation point in Syria's Idlib act of aggression, foreign minister says

Zehra Nur Duz and Busra Nur Bilgic   | 13.06.2019
Turkey condemns French cooperation with PKK/YPG ANKARA, TURKEY - JUNE 13 : Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) speaks during a joint press conference held with Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) following their meeting in Ankara, Turkey on June 13, 2019. ( Evrim Aydın - Anadolu Agency )

ANKARA

Turkey disapproves of France's close cooperation with the terror group PKK/YPG, the nation’s foreign minister said Thursday.

Mevlut Cavusoglu made the remarks at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian after a bilateral meeting in the capital Ankara.

Cavusoglu underlined that Turkey and France have completely overlapping views on Syria except for France's cooperation with the terror group PKK/YPG. 

Cavusoglu also said that Turkey welcomes measures taken by France to freeze the assets of some members and supporters of the PKK terrorist group arrested in France. 

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.

 

Cooperation on Syria

Cavusoglu said Turkey cooperates with France on all issues related to Syria’s political process, the regime’s aggression, and the country’s territorial integrity. 

Commenting on an attack on a Turkish army observation point in Idlib, Syria earlier today which left three soldiers wounded, Cavusoglu said: "It was a deliberate act of aggression."

"It is not possible to say there is complete cease-fire in Syria's Idlib at the moment," he added.

Le Drian, for his part, also stressed that France shares a common vision of Syria with Turkey.

Le Drian extended support to Turkey on the cease-fire in Idlib, saying its implementation should be ensured.

“Our priority is to restore peace and tranquility in Idlib to prevent a new humanitarian and security crisis,” Le Drian said.

Although Turkey and Russia have agreed to stop acts of aggression and make Idlib into a de-escalation zone, the Syrian regime has consistently violated the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.

 

Cyprus

Le Drian also rejected Greek media reports that France will make its presence in southern Cyprus permanent.

“We certainly do not foresee French deployment in Cyprus. The Greek press is mistaken,” he said.

Greek Cypriot press reports last month said its defense minister and his French counterpart had signed a statement of intent on allowing the French Navy long-term use of a base in southern Cyprus.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara intervened as a guarantor power. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

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