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Northern Syria: EU foreign ministers discuss sanctions against Turkey

2019-10-14T06:19:15.147Z

Several EU countries are calling for a stop to arms exports or other penalties for the Syrian invasion. Heiko Maas hopes for a joint statement from his colleagues.



The EU foreign ministers want to discuss possible sanctions for the invasion of Turkish troops in northern Syria. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) was confident about the meeting in Luxembourg. He was "pretty sure that there will be a closed language" in the EU on Monday, Maas said in the ARD. Individual countries such as the Netherlands have already announced a delivery stop for defense equipment. Germany has partially stopped its arms exports to the NATO partner in response to the invasion.

Sweden has already spoken out in favor of an EU-wide arms embargo on Turkey and, in the event of a worsening situation, also proposes economic sanctions or sanctions against individuals. The French government has also raised the issue of sanctions.

Following a special meeting of the French Defense and Security Council late on Sunday evening, the Élysée Palace said France would step up its efforts to bring about an "immediate end to the Turkish offensive". France wants to protect French forces and civilians who fight as part of the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) or provide humanitarian aid locally.

Since the Turkish invasion of northern Syria last Wednesday, a Turkish military offensive is underway there against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by the Kurdish militia YPG. Because the Kurds lost their main allies with the withdrawal of US troops, the Kurdish autonomy administration and the Syrian regime agreed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops would support the Kurdish militias.

Union wants to avoid damage claims from defense companies

It is, however, unlikely that there will be an EU decision quickly towards sanctions. Diplomats in Brussels point out that Turkey is still a member of NATO and needed as a partner to deal with the refugee crisis. Moreover, there is the big hurdle that EU sanctions should be decided unanimously. It is therefore likely that the EU states will have to decide for themselves whether to impose an arms export ban or other punitive measures.

SPD parliamentary leader Rolf Mützenich called the partially stopped German armaments exports in the Süddeutsche Zeitung a "first, important step". However, what is desirable is a "common European understanding" of further measures. On the other hand, Union parliamentary group vice-president Johann Wadephul refused to stop already approved arms exports to Turkey to the editorial network Germany, pointing out that this would "violate the legitimate expectations of local suppliers and, if necessary, suspend claims for damages".

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had on Sunday in a telephone call the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged to immediately stop the military offensive. At a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, Merkel reaffirmed the demand. "We have a common desire to end the offensive," said Macron. Both warned against a resurgence of the terrorist militia Islamic State by the actions of Turkey in northern Syria. On Sunday, the Kurdish Authority and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that around 780 members of IS extremists had escaped from a camp.

Greens leader Annalena Baerbock called for a special session of the NATO Council on Turkey's military offensive. "A war crime is no less a war crime, a breach of international law no less a breach of international law, just because the aggressor is a NATO member," Baerbock told the German Press Agency.

Source: zeit

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