For the time being, the German government does not want to authorize new arms supplies to Turkey because of the Turkish military offensive in Syria. "Against the background of the Turkish military offensive in the northeast of Syria, the Federal Government will not grant new permits for all armaments that could be used by Turkey in Syria," said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) of Bild am Sonntag.
Already since 2016 applies a very restrictive line for arms exports to Turkey, Maas said the newspaper. However, Germany continues to sell weapons on a large scale to the NATO partner Turkey. Deliveries to Turkey accounted for almost one third of all German war weapon exports in 2018, at € 242.8 million. In the first four months of this year, Turkey received war weapons for a further 184.1 million euros.
Previously, among other things, the Greens called for an end to the German armaments sales to Turkey in view of the Turkish military offensive. The exports had to be "stopped immediately," the party leader Annalena Baerbock told the newspapers of the editorial network Germany . "Already granted permits must be revoked." Baerbock also demanded an end to the provision of German reconnaissance data from the operation on Syria and Iraq. The Greens would bring in an application in the Bundestag next week.
On Wednesday, after a withdrawal of US soldiers from the Syrian border area, the Turkish government launched a military offensive against Kurdish militia YPG in northeastern Syria, opening a new frontier in the civil war zone. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan justifies Turkey's plans with security interests: the declared goal is to push back the Kurdish militia YPG up to 32 kilometers south of the border. Turkey fears a strengthening of the Kurds beyond their southern border and thus also the Kurds striving for autonomy on their own territory. In addition, Arab refugees from Syria are to be settled in the border area.
More than 100,000 people on the run
Turkey regards the Kurdish militia as an offshoot of the banned Kurdish workers' party PKK and thus as a terrorist organization. While the PKK is also on the terror list in the US and Europe, the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been an important ally of the US in the fight against the terrorist militia "Islamic State" (IS) in Syria. The nato partner's western allies fear a humanitarian crisis and the strengthening of the IS because of the Turkish offensive. Since the beginning of the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have fled their cities.
Thus, from Ras al-Ain alone 65,000 inhabitants have fled. The city is located on a major road between Tall Abjad in the west and Kamischli in eastern Syria. The Turkish Ministry of Defense reported on Twitter on Saturday, the place had been conquered by the Turkish army. However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London disagreed with this statement: According to Turkish forces and their allies, although in Ras al-Ain, in the place but continued to fight.
According to the Turkish Ministry of Defense, 415 enemy fighters have been killed since the beginning of the offensive. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights spoke of 74 deaths on the part of the SDP rebel group led by the YPG and 49 deaths on the part of the rebels allied with Turkey. In addition, 20 civilians were killed, most of them in Tel Abyad. The information is difficult to verify independently.
EU maintains refugee agreement with Turkey
Next week, the military offensive in Syria will be the subject of a meeting of EU leaders. Turkey does not move its actions on the ground of international law, said outgoing EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger on Deutschlandfunk. The actions of Turkey are completely wrong and can not be justified by anything. Nevertheless, the EU adheres to the refugee agreement with Turkey. They are loyal to the contract and expect the same from Erdoğan.
The EU had signed an agreement with Turkey in March 2016 to restrain Turkey's flight towards Europe by sea and land. In return, the EU will pay six billion euros to supply refugees from Syria in return for several years. According to government figures, Turkey now has around five million refugees, including more than 3.6 million Syrians.