Turkey condemns Macron’s meeting with Syrian Kurds
Turkey has condemned a meeting on Monday between French President Emmanuel Macron and members of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The main component of the SDF is the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a terrorist organiSation linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK seeks autonomy or independence for Turkey's Kurdish minority and has waged a military campaign against the Turkish state since the 1980s.
"We condemn the meeting of French President Emmanuel Macron with the members of the so-called 'Syria Democratic Council' led by PYD/YPG, the offshoot of PKK terrorist organization in Syria," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement on Tuesday.
Bilgic said that by forming a relationship with what he called a "separatist bloody-handed terrorist organisation", France was undermining Turkish national security and its efforts to preserve the political unity of Syria, the Anadolu news agency reported.
Macron hosted members of the SDC at the Elysee Palace in Paris, amid a push by the movement to gain recognition from the United Nations.
A statement from the Kurdish delegation said that the two sides had discussed "how to ensure a peaceful, democratic and equitable solution" to the Syrian conflict, which began in 2011 after the regime brutally suppressed peaceful protests.
Bilgic accused the SDC of committing atrocities against Syrian civilians, saying: "We reiterate once more that Turkey will resolutely continue its fight against this terrorist organisation and its affiliates everywhere."
Macron’s meeting with the SDC was also condemned by the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), an umbrella organisation which represents groups opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
In a statement, the SNC, which is based in Turkey, said: "The French president's reception of a delegation from the terrorist militias of the PYD is unfortunate and a cause of worry. Anyone who deals with these militias is announcing a direct relationship with the PKK."
The PKK is categorised as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US.
The YPG has fought Syrian opposition forces during the country’s long-running conflict, as well as Syrian fighters backed by Turkey.