Turkey's FM Mevlut Cavusoglu says what is wanted for Baltics should be wanted for Turkey after meeting in Ankara with Masrour Barzani, the PM of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.

"There are 350,000 Kurds in Turkey and more than 250,000 Syrian Kurds in Iraq right now. They are not able to return to Syria because the PKK/YPG exiled them," Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a presser with KRG prime minister in Ankara, November 28, 2019. (Fatih Aktaş / AP)

NATO should address the concerns of all the members of the alliance, as Turkey deserves what other regions get too, Turkey's foreign minister said on Thursday.

"NATO must act in a way that will meet the concerns of all allies. What is wanted for the Baltics should be wanted for us too," FM Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference in the capital, Ankara, with Masrour Barzani, the visiting prime minister of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

PKK and FETO threats

Turkey says NATO has failed to recognise the threat it faces from the terrorist PKK/YPG group along its southern border with Syria.

Cavusoglu added that Turkey has told both Iraq's central government and the KRG in northern Iraq about its expectations regarding the presence of the terrorist groups PKK/YPG and the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) and the fight against them.

"There are 350,000 Kurds [refugees] in Turkey, and more than 250,000 Syrian Kurds in Iraq right now. They are not able to return to Syria because the PKK/YPG exiled them," he added.

“I explained [to Cavusoglu] that we are in a dialogue with Baghdad for a deal which will be for regional interests. We believe that the entire region will benefit from a deal between Baghdad and the Kurdish region,” Barzani said.

Barzani said his country opposes the presence of the PKK in Sinjar and other parts of Iraq. 

PKK terrorists often use northern Iraq as a base to plan cross-border terror attacks in Turkey.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organisation.

 In its 30-year terror campaign against the Turkish state, more than 40,000 people have been killed.

Turkey, the US and the EU recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

FETO is led by US-based cleric, Fetullah Gulen.

Gulen is accused of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Turkey lashes out at France's criticism of anti-terror op 

Turkey's top diplomat also dismissed recent comments by French President Emmanuel Macron against Turkey's anti-terror operation in Syria.

"Macron's words, in my eyes, have no meaning," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, adding that the French leader "constantly hosts" terrorists at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Citing a statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Ankara is a NATO ally, Cavusoglu urged Macron to stand by its allies.

On Macron's comments that the NATO alliance had become "brain dead," Cavusoglu said the French president disgruntled everyone, including NATO members, and drew criticism from all.

"Right now, there is a void in Europe, he is trying to be its leader," Cavusoglu said, adding that with such remarks, Macron could not be the leader of Europe.

 'Disruptive politics'

Following Macron's remarks, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin quoted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who reportedly said the French president continually engaged in "disruptive politics."

"Macron keeps breaking one cup after the other and still wants tea," Kalin said on Twitter.

He was referring to France's sole veto of North Macedonia's accession into the EU, despite "Skopje's having done everything Brussels had asked of it, including changing its name."

According to a recent New York Times report, Merkel told Macron, "I understand your desire for disruptive politics. But I’m tired of picking up the pieces. Over and over, I have to glue together the cups you have broken so we can then sit down and have a cup of tea together."

Macron on Thursday said Turkey should not expect the support of its NATO allies in its anti-terror operation in northern Syria.

'Macron must confront France's actions in Africa'

Turkey's governing Justice and Development (AK) Party also slammed Macron's comments, with spokesman Omer Celik saying, "Macron should first face the situation of his own country which has held operations all over Africa to protect its colonial interests in disregard to [international] law."

Celik also said, "Macron's words on Syria is nothing more than France's intention to keep its colonial past in Syria alive with bright sentences."

In response to Macron's previous comments on NATO, Celik said that the critics of Turkey's fight against terror work for Europe's "brain death."

Source: AA