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Middle East

Turkey slams French warning over Syrian Kurds offensive

media Turkish army tanks wait near the border before entering Syria AFP

Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Melvut Cavusoglu accused Emmanuel Macron's of insulting his country, after the French president warned against an "invasion" of northern Syria.

In an interview published Wednesday, Macron said that Turkey's offensive against Kurdish YPG guerrillas in northern Syria should not become an invasion, a statement that Prime Minister Binali Yildirim described as "fundamentally mistaken" the same day.

Cavusoglu on Thursday declared that Paris "has no lessons to teach us on this question", pointing to its colonial past in Africa.

“We consider a country like France giving us reminders about an operation we are carrying out in accordance with international law to be insults,” he told reporters in Ankara.

Cavusoglu accused Western countries of being "two-faced", expressing support for the Syria operation in talks with Ankara but criticising it in public.

Macron earlier called on Ankara to exercise restraint after it launched Operation Olive Branch against the YPG, which it considers an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has been fighting the Turkish state for three decades.

The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State armed group, of which France is a member, supported the YPG, which it found to be the most effective force against the jihadists.

Cavusoglu also criticised the French president's announcement that France will observe a day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide in World War I.

Turkey claims the violence was a civil war followed by a famine and that as many ethnic Turks died as ethnic Armenians.

"Putting that back on the agenda is just populism for domestic consumption," Cavusoglu commented.

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