Turkish, French defense ministers talk Syria on phone

ANKARA

The Turkish and French defense ministers spoke Monday on the phone about defense and security matters, especially the Syria issue, according to the Turkish National Defense Ministry.

“National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had a conversation with French Defense Minister Florence Parly over the telephone,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“In the conversation, Ministers Akar and Parly exchanged information on defense and security matters, especially the Syria issue,” it added.

French President Emmanuel Macron has criticized Turkey’s current anti-terrorist operation in northern Syria.

Turkey has pushed back against the criticisms, saying it expects its NATO allies to stand with it in fighting terrorism.

Turkey last Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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