File Photo: Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (Photo: AFP)
The Arab League has criticized attempts by Turkey's foreign minister to "politically outbid the Secretary General's remarks" over Turkish military operations in Syria, made during the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.
In an official statement on Monday, the Secretary General's spokesman Mahmoud Afifi voiced "his surprise at the nervous and unjustified reaction" of the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in response to the remarks of the Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit during the session that discussed the situation in the Middle East, specifically Syria.
Afifi pointed out that Aboul Gheit had criticized the Turkish military intervention in Syrian territory, and criticized all other regional and international interventions that came at the expense of the Syrian people.
Ahead of the conclusion of the session, Turkish FM Cavusoglu told Aboul Gheit that Turkey was there to "defeat a terrorist organization", referring to the Kurdish YPG militia in northwestern Syria's Afrin. He added that his country was using its legitimate right of self-defence in accordance with international law and UN Security Council resolutions.
“You are talking about your system. I hope your system is strong enough to prevent the leader of one of your member states from killing at minimum half a million people and the use of chemical weapons — first,” Cavusoglu said, denouncing the Arab League’s response to the Syrian conflict and President Bashar al-Assad.
Afifi said the Turkish FM responded to Aboul Gheit's remarks in an "unjustified, nervous manner".
"The Turkish Minister's nervous intervention reflects only an attempt to politically outbid the remarks of the Secretary General, and that this intervention had an overcast approach quite well-known of the 'Neo Ottoman' stream, which everyone knows how it feels towards the Arab world," Afifi said.
According to the spokesman, Aboul Gheit rejects any kind of military intervention in Arab territory under any pretext, and believes the Arab League cannot support the legitimization of such an intervention, which is rejected by and contradicts international legitimacy.