Turkish foreign minister slams EP president over misinformation on meeting

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Wednesday blasted European Parliament President David Sassoli over what he called providing misinformation on the content of a meeting between the pair earlier during the day.

Çavuşoğlu said Sassoli’s official statement following the meeting, which said the European Union had condemned Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria and expressed its support with Cyprus over Turkey’s illegal drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, was a new example of the EU’s insincere and hypocritical attitude.

“It is insincere and hypocritical that the President of the European Parliament would share matter he could not express to me in person, as though he did,’’ Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter. “I am ashamed that a person representing the people of Europe would distort the content of a meeting that took place at an EU institution.’’

The EP President, in his statement on the meeting, said the EU saw Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria as a grave violation of international law, which undermines stability and security in the region.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched a military incursion in northeast Syria targeting Syrian Kurdish militias, which Ankara sees as a national security threat due to their links to outlawed groups that have waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey for Kurdish self-rule. The operation came to a halt later in the month after Ankara reached the agreements with Moscow and Washington.

“I also made clear that it is completely unacceptable to use people fleeing war and persecution for political gain or to pressure the EU,’’ the statement said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly threatened to allow millions of refugees into Europe if it failed to support Turkey's military offensive.

Turkey is home to 3.6 million Syrian refugees.