“We don’t find the close cooperation of France with the YPG, a group no different from the PKK, appropriate. We observe that this has reflections on many of our issues, including cooperation within NATO,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian on June 13.
Le Drian paid a one-day trip to the Turkish capital to discuss a wide range of bilateral and regional issues. The two ministers held a joint press conference after the meeting.
Çavuşoğlu said his government appreciated France for taking measures against the PKK in the country, including freezing the assets of alleged supporters of the PKK. Recalling that the YPG is no different from the PKK, Çavuşoğlu stated, “It’s not convenient for France to engage in a close cooperation with the YPG while at the same time it takes measures against the PKK.”
The Turkish minister said the YPG was also a threat to the security of Turkey and its borders. Apart from the YPG issue, Turkey and France are on the same page on Syria and are working together for a political transition process.
France ‘does not’ seek base in Cyprus
On a question, the French minister clarified reports over France’s demand to set up a base in Greek Cyprus. “We never have envisaged a French base or permanent deployment of French troops on Cyprus,” Le Drian said, stressing that they were discussing ways to increase the naval capacity of Greek Cyprus. “I may tell you that the Cypriot press is mistaken on that matter,” he added.
The two ministers also expressed their views on recent developments regarding freedom of expression in Turkey and France. Upon a question, Le Drian stressed that he raised the issue of the detentions of two Turkish academics in his meeting with Çavuşoğlu, underlining the importance France attaches to universal human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In his response, Çavuşoğlu recalled that some journalists in France had been prosecuted for publishing some confidential state documents, saying, “When this occurs in Turkey, it’s regarded as an issue of freedom of expression. But when it happens in France it becomes a matter of security. We are against these kinds of double standards.” It’s nobody’s right to interfere in Turkey’s internal affairs, the minister said.