Yesterday, on December 3, the first day of Nato summit in London, French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that Turkey is working with Islamic State proxies as reported on France24.
In his talk, Macron directly linked Turkey to Islamic State fighters. “The common enemy today is the terrorist groups. I’m sorry to say, we don’t have the same definition of terrorism around the table” told reporters. “When I look at Turkey they are fighting against those who fought with us shoulder to shoulder against ISIS (Islamic State) and sometimes they work with ISIS proxies.” Macron accused Turkey of working with ISIS forces in Syria, where it has launched an offensive targeting the YPG.
As part of its safe-zone plan in north-east Syria, President Erdogan asked the Nato alliance backs Ankara in its fight against Kurdish fighters and to recognize the Kurdish YPG militia as a terrorist group. For this end, Turkey had threatened to block a plan to defend Baltic states and Poland against Russian attacks. On the other hand, on the ground against Islamic State in Syria, the YPG’s fighters have long been U.S. and French allies. However, Turkey considers YPG’s fighters an enemy because of links to Kurdish insurgents in southeastern Turkey.
“I think any ambiguity with Turkey vis-a-vis these groups is detrimental to everybody for the situation on the ground,” Macron said on France24. “The number one (priority) is not to be ambiguous with these groups, which is why we started to discuss our relations with Turkey.”
After his comments, U.S. President Trump said he would pass the question to Macron and asked him whether France should do more to bring French ISIS fighters to home. “Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? You can take everyone you want” Trump said ironically. Macron responded, saying “let’s be serious” and argued that number of foreign fighters from European countries was small, and that it would be unhelpful to focus on them rather than on the broader problem. “It is true you have fighters coming from Europe but this is a tiny minority and I think the number one priority, because it’s not finished, is to get rid of ISIS and terrorist groups. This is our number one priority and it’s not yet done,” he said on France24. Trump defended Turkey on this issue during the meeting with Nato.
“Turkey’s decision to buy and begin testing the S-400 Russian missile system was also a topic of contention on the first day of the summit as Macron questioned how a NATO member could purchase a system that is not compliant with the alliance” as reported on Ahval.
On this issue, Trump, blamed the previous U.S. administration for refusing to sell Turkey the U.S. Patriot System, forcing Ankara to turn to Russia. “Trump failed to criticise Turkey’s Erdogan, even when asked about his country’s procurement of the Russian S-400 missile defence missile system, a source of ongoing tensions between Ankara and Washington” commented on Ahval and added “Ankara is expected to face further blowback during the summit from members of the world’s largest military alliance, which it has been a part of since 1952, over the risk NATO believes the Russian system poses.”