Erdogan slams 'brain dead' Macron over NATO comments

AFP , Friday 29 Nov 2019

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attends a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. (AP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out on Friday at counterpart Emmanuel Macron over his criticisms of NATO, saying it was the French president who was suffering "brain death".

"I am talking to France's President Emmanuel Macron, and I will also say this at NATO. First of all, have your own brain death checked. These statements are suitable only to people like you who are in a state of brain death," Erdogan said in a televised speech.

He was referencing Macron's much-publicised claim that NATO was suffering "brain death" due to the lack of strategic cooperation among members.

"You know how to show off but you cannot even properly pay for NATO. You are a novice," Erdogan said.

"Believe me, Macron is very inexperienced. He doesn't know what fighting against terror is. That is why yellow vests invaded France," he added, referring to the French protest movement of the past year.

Macron has strongly opposed Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish militants in Syria, launched last month, and reiterated on Thursday that it "endangers the actions of the anti-IS (Islamic State) coalition, of which NATO is a member".

Erdogan said Ankara had a right to intervene in Syria given their shared border.

"What is your business in Syria?" he said, addressing Macron. "Jump up and down as much as you like ... you will respect Turkey's right to fighting against terrorism sooner or later. There is no other way."

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