ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned the French ambassador to “strongly condemn” the French senate’s decision to host Syrian Kurdish groups that Ankara considers to be terrorists, the Turkish state-run news agency reported Monday.
Pierre Laurent, vice-president of the French Senate, announced on Twitter Saturday that he hosted a delegation from northeast Syria last week to discuss the situation in the region. Media reports said the senate awarded medals to members of the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, and its women’s branch, the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units, in recognition of their fight against the extremist Islamic State group in Syria.
Anadolu Agency reported that Turkish officials protested to French Ambassador Herve Magro and reiterated Ankara’s expectations of solidarity from its NATO allies in its fight against terrorism. They also asked France not to support alleged efforts by Kurdish militants to “gain international credence,” according to Anadolu.
Turkey considers the two groups as extensions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a nearly four-decade long insurgency in Turkey and is listed as a terror organization by the United States and the European Union.
The United States and other countries however, regard the Syrian Kurdish groups as key allies in the fight against IS and have extended support to the organizations, frustrating Turkey.
That frustration is partly the reason for Turkey delaying Sweden and Finland’s membership to NATO.