Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday hit back at his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, for suggesting that NATO was experiencing “brain death,” with the Turkish leader saying that Macron should have his “own brain death” checked first.
“The French president’s statements are examples of a diseased, shallow understanding. What’s he saying? That NATO has experienced brain death. Mr. Macron, look, I appeal to you from Turkey, I will also say it at NATO, have your own brain death checked out first,” Erdoğan said, according to Reuters.
Macron said in an interview earlier this month that NATO was dealing with “brain death” due to the United States being an unpredictable ally under President Trump amid tensions with Turkey over its incursion into northern Syria.
“You have no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies. None,” Macron told The Economist.
“You have an uncoordinated aggressive action by another NATO ally, Turkey, in an area where our interests are at stake,” he added.
Macron said Thursday that he stood by his previous comments.
France and Turkey have seen a steady rise in tensions following Ankara’s purchase of a Russian air missile system this year. Macron has also disparaged Turkey for its offensive into Syria against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces that help the U.S.-led coalition fight ISIS militants.
Speaking at Istanbul’s Marmara University on Friday, Erdoğan said that Macron “doesn’t know what the fight against terror is,” and that “we don’t know what France means for NATO, but Turkey is NATO’s most important member.”
Both leaders will be in London for a NATO summit next week.