Can the rapidly deteriorating Turkey-France relations be saved?

France and Turkey trading blows

Ever since the beginning of Turkey’s Military operation in Syria last month, relationship with France has deteriorated, as France reacted negatively and fiercely to the operation, while Turkey responded with insistence and jabs of equal magnitude. Most recently, French President Macron said in an interview three weeks ago there was a lack of strategic coordination between European allies on the one hand and the United States and Turkey, on the other. He has also decried NATO’s inability to react to what he called Turkey’s “crazy” offensive into northern Syria. The comments drew a stinging rebuke from Erdogan during a televised speech on Friday. “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. “You know how to show off but you cannot even properly pay for NATO. You are a novice,” he added. On Friday, French officials said they expected substantial clarifications from Erdogan rather than a war of words. “Let’s be clear, these are not statements, they are insults,” a presidential adviser said. “The president says things clearly. It’s up to Turkey to provide the answers that we and many allies expect.” Macron’s adviser said that beyond the issue of Turkey’s offensive in Syria, its refusal to back a NATO defence plan for the Baltic republics and Poland was unacceptable. “Turkey can’t take the defence plans of Poland and the Baltic countries hostage,” the adviser said. It seems relations have only gotten worse in recent weeks, which is a major problem for NATO, as it disrupts its unity and functionality as a whole.

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