France Summons Turkish Ambassador After Erdogan Calls Macron "Brain Dead"

The French government will summon the Turkish ambassador demanding an explanation after Turkey's delightfully outspoken President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked if French President Emmanuel Macron was "brain dead."

Ahead of a NATO summit next starting on Dec 4 which will be attended by both men, tensions have mounted around Turkey’s role in Syria and within the alliance; they boiled over on Friday Friday when Erdogan said that Emmanuel Macron’s warning that NATO was dying reflects a "sick and shallow" understanding, telling the French president "I’m addressing Mr Macron from Turkey and I will say it at NATO: You should check whether you are brain dead first."

The quip is in response to Macron's own recent lament over the "brain death" of NATO because of American unpredictability under President Donald Trump and strained ties with Turkey, and said the allies need “a wake-up call." 

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.

Macron’s remarks drew strong reaction from European peers who believe Europe still needs to rely heavily on NATO, but he said on Thursday his remarks had been a useful wake-up call and he would not apologize for saying them.

Meanwhile, Turkey - which has become a critical splinter within NATO and according to some is doing Putin's bidding - is refusing to back a NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland unless it gets more political support for its fight against Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria. Turkey also criticized Macron for agreeing to talks with a Syrian Kurd politician whom Ankara considers an extremist.

A French presidential official said the Turkish envoy will be summoned to the Foreign Ministry to explain, and that France and other NATO allies are expecting “clear answers” from Turkey about its intentions in Syria.