STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Turkey says France's criticism of Syria operation 'baseless'

Turkey on Thursday dismissed France's claims over civilian losses in Ankara's ongoing Syria operation, labelling them "unfortunate" and "baseless" accusations.

Published: 08th February 2018 01:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2018 01:50 PM   |  A+A-

A woman reacts as Turkish anti-riot police officers arrest her during a demonstration called by Halklarin Demokratik Partisi (Peoples' Democratic Party - HDP) members to protest against Turkey's 'Olive Branch' operation in Syria on January 21, 2018 at the Kadikoy district, in Istanbul. (AFP)

By AFP

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday dismissed France's claims over civilian losses in Ankara's ongoing Syria operation, labelling them "unfortunate" and "baseless" accusations. 

"It is being seen with regret that the French foreign minister made unfortunate and groundless comments on the Operation Olive Branch," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

Turkey on January 20 began a major operation aimed at ousting fighters from the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) from their enclave of the northwestern town of Afrin.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned on Wednesday against civilian deaths in the offensive.

ALSO READ: US-led strikes on Syria pro-regime forces kill 100

"What we can understand is that Turkey wants to ensure the security of its borders which is a legitimate right but to ensure the security of its borders does not mean killing civilians which is reprehensible," he told French channel BFM TV and Radio RMC.

At least 68 civilians have been killed in the offensive according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

IN PICTURES: US led coalition strike in Syria

Turkey has strongly rejected any civilian casualties, saying that its military is showing utmost care not to harm any civilians in the Afrin region. 

"There have been no civilian losses so far in the operation," Aksoy said.

"Contrary to what France claims, Turkey's ongoing operation is aimed at preventing another war in Syria. We expect our allies to be able to see this reality," he added.

ALSO READ: Turkey, Russia and Iran to hold Syria summit in Istanbul

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday told French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in a phone conversation that the Afrin operation was aimed at "terror elements" and that Ankara had no eye on Syrian territory. 

Macron had incensed Turkish officials by saying in a newspaper interview last week that France would have a "real problem" with the campaign if it turned out to be an "invasion operation".

"Turkey does not have eye on any other country's soil," Aksoy said. 

"Turkey has never been colonialist in its history. It has entered Syria not for invasion but to combat with terrorism," he added, urging Turkey's allies to take Ankara's side in the fight against terror groups in Afrin.

Turkey's Western allies do not classify the YPG as a terror group and have worked closely with its fighters in the battle against Islamic State jihadists.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

edexworks
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp