French President Emmanuel Macron should check his own head before describing NATO "brain dead", Turkish president said Friday in a rebuff of the French leader.
"Look Mr. Macron, I am calling to you from Turkey, but I will tell you again at NATO. First, have your own brain death checked," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, slamming Macron over his remarks that Turkey should not expect NATO support for its anti-terror operation in northern Syria.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of Recep Tayyip Erdogan Complex at Istanbul's Marmara University, Erdogan said France has no right and authority to be in Syria.
"Neither has the [Syrian] regime invited you there," Erdogan said, addressing the French leader.
"Expelling or not expelling Turkey from NATO [...] Do you have the authority to make such a decision?" Erdogan added.
Erdogan went on to say that Turkey "will not hesitate" to carry out Operation Peace Spring, "if the threats to Turkey from the safe zone and beyond cannot be eliminated within a reasonable time."
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.
Under two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia, Turkey paused the operation to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned Syria safe zone.
But the terrorists have failed to withdraw from some areas and continue to attack both soldiers and civilians.
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 nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
- Universities in Turkey
Erdogan said he expected Turkish universities to number among top institutions in an amount "to be proud of".
"When increasing the number of universities in Turkey from 76 to 207, we did do this merely to keep score.
"We also worked to ensure that all universities, from the oldest to the newest, have the understanding, hardware and infrastructure to fulfill the functions we expect from higher education," he added.
- Turkey to build houses following earthquake in Albania
Following a recent earthquake in Albania, Erdogan announced that Turkey would build at least 500 dwellings in disaster-hit areas.
The 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the Thumane province, adjacent to the Adriatic coastal city of Durres on Tuesday, killing 47 and injuring some 750 people.
"Turkey will build 500 houses for Albanian brothers and sisters," Erdogan said.
"We will build the houses as soon as possible, and we will extend our help to those who are in difficulty in the winter in a short period of time, he added.
Source: Anadolu Agency