French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has decided not to attend Monday’s football match in Paris between France and Turkey in the wake of Turkey’s military offensive in northeastern Syria, said Le Drian’s office.
Le Drian had previously planned to be at the game, said the minister’s department.
French officials are planning to step up security ahead of this evening’s European Championship game in the Stade de France between the two countries, following the condemnation by France and the European Union of the Turkish offensive.
Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday that the Turkish offensive in Syria could undermine years of battling the Daesh militant group.
“It’s a very serious issue. First of all because this Turkish operation in North-Eastern Syria could undermine five years of battling the Islamic State [Daesh]. The Islamic State is not dead,” Le Drian told Le Figaro newspaper.
The EU, which Turkey still aspires to join, had already condemned the Turkish air and artillery strikes on Kurdish militia in northeast Syria, and has been further infuriated by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s threats to send refugees to Europe.