Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants Emmanuel Macron to “have his own brain death checked out first” before criticizing NATO.
Speaking at Istanbul’s Marmara University on Friday, Erdoğan hit out at the French president over Macron’s claim that the alliance was suffering from “brain death.”
“The French president’s statements are examples of a diseased, shallow understanding. What’s he saying? That NATO has experienced brain death. Mr. Macron, look, I appeal to you from Turkey, I will also say it at NATO, have your own brain death checked out first,” Erdoğan said, according to a transcript of the speech published by state broadcaster TRT.
The Turkish president had previously denounced Macron’s “brain death” remarks as “unacceptable.”
Erdoğan on Friday also appeared to comment on Macron’s assertion, made in a press conference with the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday, that terrorism — not Russia or China — is NATO’s common enemy.
“Macron doesn’t know what the fight against terror is,” the Turkish leader said, before adding, without elaborating further, that “that’s why the Yellow Jackets invaded.”
He went on to criticize France’s presence in Syria, and said: “We don’t know what France means for NATO, but Turkey is NATO’s most important member.”
NATO leaders are meeting in London for a summit next week.
Macron, who sharply condemned Turkey’s recent incursion into northern Syria, attempted to soften his position on that front on Thursday by saying he respects “the security interests of our Turkish ally.”
But Ankara was not impressed.
“[Macron] is already the sponsor of the terrorist organization and constantly hosts them at the Elysée,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters, a reference to Macron meeting with representatives of Syrian Kurdish fighters that Turkey considers to be terrorists.