Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed his French counterpart’s proposal to mediate between Turkey and Syrian Kurds, and expressed dismay over France’s “wrong stance.”
A day after France announced that it would deploy forces in Manbij and is ready to help Turkey resolve its dispute with the Syrian Kurdish militia, the Turkish leader outright rejected that offer.
“We have no need for mediation,” the president said. “We are extremely saddened by France’s… wrong stance on this.”
On Thursday, U.S. President Donald J. Trump unexpectedly said the U.S. forces would soon be leaving Manbij.
The U.S. presence in Manbij bedeviled relations between Turkey and the U.S. amid continuing Turkish threats for a military assault against the Kurdish-held city.
The Turkish troops and Turkey-allied rebels drove Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) out from Afrin earlier this month. YPG dominates the senior leadership and majority of the fighting force of U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
President Erdogan repeatedly called on the U.S. to withdraw its forces from Manbij.
— The Defense Post (@DefensePost) March 29, 2018
After meeting with SDF delegation in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron said France is committed to the defense of Syrian Kurds, and signaled the deployment of the French troops in Manbij. He offered mediation between Turkey and SDF, a call Mr. Erdogan dismissed.
“Since when has Turkey been sitting down at the table with terror organizations?” the Turkish president said.