JERUSALEM, Israel - NATO leaders continued their second day of meetings in London. The organization is celebrating its 70th anniversary but the alliance is facing a number of challenges and one of the main questions is the role of Turkey.
Turkey joined NATO in 1952 but recently some like French President Emmanuel Macron wonder whether Turkey should continue to be part of the alliance.
“How is it possible to be a member of the alliance, to work with all of us, to buy our materials, to be integrated - and to buy the S-400 from the Russians? Technically, it is not possible,” said Macron.
The S-400 is a Russian state of the art air defense system that would be incompatible with NATO’s military.
The French president also criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s invasion of northeastern Syria.
“When I look at Turkey, they now are fighting against those who fight with us, who fought with us, shoulder to shoulder against ISIS. And sometimes they work with ISIS forces. This is an issue and this is a strategic issue.”
Before the summit, Macron said NATO was “brain dead” in part because US President Trump pulled out of Northeast Syria without consulting his NATO allies and the subsequent Turkish invasion.
Erdogan slammed Macron’s statement.
“Mr. Macron, I call on you from Turkey. I'll say it at NATO (summit) too. You should get checked whether you are brain-dead … Kicking Turkey out of NATO or not, how is that up to you? Do you have the authority to make such a decision?” Erdogan said.
Many have criticized Erdogan’s invasion of northeast Syria after atrocities like Monday’s where Turkish-backed soldiers killed twelve including eight children in a mortar attack. Human rights groups blame Turkish-backed forces for atrocities like this and more.
It is also why Kurdish protestors took to the streets of London.
"NATO is still supporting him (Erdogan), the UK is still selling arms to him, America is still supporting him and we need help because we don't have any power ourselves,” said a protester named Hary Youns.
Some see Erdogan’s strategy is to threaten European leaders with the threat of flooding the continent with millions of refugees while in the meantime, pursuing his goal of ethnic cleansing along the Turkish Syrian border.