“The French president will visit Erbil and Mosul, but not one sentence in the statements from the Élysée refers to Turkey’s moves to occupy the region, that have been going on since April,” writes Selma Akkaya for Özgür Politika.
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that he will be in Iraq this weekend for a regional summit. According to the written statement from the Élysée Palace, Macron and his delegation will visit Erbil and Mosul and meet with Barzani.
Nadia Murad, a Yazidi and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and writer Caroline Fourest are among his delegation. The statement from the Élysée Palace said that during his visit, as well as meeting with Barzani, Macron will visit the Our Lady of the Hour Church and the reconstruction site of the al-Nuri mosque, which was destroyed by ISIS.
It has been stated, however, that the real reason for the visit is to support the stability of the country and to remind people of the role that France wishes to continue to play in the region, in particular in the fight against ISIS. Macron will meet with leaders in Baghdad during his two day visit. Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia will be represented at the leaders’ summit.
The statement stresses that the visit will also be important from the point of view of France’s national security. It says that the French president, who visited Iraq briefly on 2 September 2020, wants “to show support for Iraq’s pivotal role, for the fight against terrorism and for the development of the country, and to help reduce tensions.”
Macron says, “France is determined to continue the fight in Iraq and elsewhere to avoid the possible resurgence of ISIS.” He will meet his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and also King Abdullah II of Jordan. It is stated that he will have a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah.
The Turkish and Iranian presidents and the King of Saudi Arabia have been invited, but according to reports in the French press, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia will send representatives rather than leaders to attend the summit. The French press has evaluated the decision of these countries to send only representatives to the meeting as a snub to Iraq in particular.
The French press also states that in his bilateral talks, Macron will address regional questions like the situation in Afghanistan, as well as the situation of French jihadists detained in Iraq and the issue of women’s rights.
The French president will visit Erbil and Mosul, but not one sentence in the statements from the Élysée refers to Turkey’s moves to occupy the region, that have been going on since April.
A few months ago, 150 politicians, human rights activists, journalists, academics, parliamentarians, political activists, environmentalists and feminists from all corners of Europe visited Erbil to observe at close hand the dangerous developments arising from Turkey’s attacks on South Kurdistan since 23 April 2021. Since then, Pierre Laurent, Deputy Chair of the French Senate, who was part of the French delegation, has called on Macron innumerable times saying, “Do not be a partner to this disgrace! Stop the Turkish assault!”
Macron blocks his ears to these calls, and now he says he is going to the region for the purposes of counter-terrorism. Apparently, France has forgotten who cleansed the region of ISIS. Macron’s talk of counter-terrorism may be no more than a cover for his strategy to protect France’s interests in the region.