UPDATE 1-France's Macron criticises NATO reaction over Turkish offensive

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BRUSSELS, Oct 18 (Reuters) - France's president on Friday bemoaned Turkey's offensive into northern Syria as "madness" and decried the North Atlantic Organisation's (NATO) inability to react to the assault as a "serious mistake."

"I consider what's happened in the last few days as a serious mistake from the West and NATO in the region and it weakens our credibility to find partners on the ground who will be by our side thinking they are protected in the long-term and so that raises questions on how NATO functions," Emmanuel Macron told reporters after a European Council summit in Brussels.

Macron said he had discovered the U.S. decision to withdrawal from northern Syria through Twitter and that, coupled with Ankara's unilateral offensive, it was making Europe a junior ally in the Middle East.

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Macron added that he, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in the coming weeks, most likely in London.

"It's important to meet and coordinate between the three Europeans and Turkey," he said. "We need to see where Turkey is going and how to bring it back to a reasonable position which makes it possible to elaborate its internal security with the respect of our agenda and the correct solidarity at the heart of NATO." (Reporting by Marine Pennetier and Michel Rose in Brussels; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Tangi Salaun and Leigh Thomas)

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