After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, of suffering from ‘brain death’, France has summoned the Turkish envoy in Paris terming the statement as “insults”. Erdogan, on November 29, shot back at Macron as the latter had criticised the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), using the same ‘brain death’ expression, for lack of strategic cooperation among members.
On November 28, Macron stood by his comments after talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Macron has been critical of Turkey’s Syrian offensive which had an apparent backing from the Trump administration.
“I respect the security interests of our Turkish ally ... but one can’t say that we are allies and demand solidarity, and on the other hand, present allies with a fait accompli by a military intervention which jeopardizes the action of the coalition against IS,” Macron said at the meeting with Stoltenberg.
Erdogan was furious over Macron’s statement saying “You should get checked whether you’re brain dead.” Calling the French President "inexperienced", Erdogan asked, “Kicking Turkey out of NATO or not, how is that up to you? Do you have the authority to make such a decision?”
Ahead of the NATO summit in London, Macron and Erdogan are expected to have a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss the situation in Syria. There has been tension among the NATO allies over the Syrian conflict since Turkey unilaterally decided to launch an offensive in northern Syria. While Trump administration had decided to pull back US troops from Syrian soil, the House of Representatives passed a resolution against the withdrawal.
Following a similar line, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republican senators had introduced a resolution opposing the decision. US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria was followed by a violent clash between Turkish forces and Syrian Kurdish fighters.