Erdogan unwavering on Syria operation; U.S., Europe weigh response

by WorldTribune Staff, October 13, 2019

Despite “threats from right and left” calling on Turkey to cease its assault on Kurds in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that the operation will continue.

“We will never stop this step we have taken against the PYD/YPG… We will not stop it no matter what anyone says,” Erdogan said, according to Reuters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. / photo / Creative Commons / CC BY 4.0

On Oct. 10, a senior State Department official warned that the U.S. will take penalizing action against Turkey if it engages in any “inhumane and disproportionate” moves against civilians during its incursion into northeastern Syria.

Meanwhile, 29 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced they would introduce legislation to impose sanctions against Turkey in the wake of its assault on Kurdish forces in Syria.

France and Germany on Oct. 12 announced they suspended arms exports to Turkey.

In a joint statement from the defense and foreign ministries, France said it had suspended all planned exports of “war materials” to Turkey that could be used in their offensive into Syria, according to AFP.

The Paris statement came hours after Germany, one of Turkey’s main arms suppliers, also said it had suspended exports.

Finland, Norway and the Netherlands had already announced they are stopping arms exports to Turkey.

An Oct. 14 meeting in Luxembourg of the European Union’s foreign affairs committee will decide on a coordinated European approach to the Turkey issue, the French statement said.

Turkey launched the military operation on Oct. 9, three days after U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces in northeastern Syria.

Trump has defended his decision.

“These wars, they never end,” the president said on Oct. 12. “And we have to bring our great soldiers back from the never-ending wars.”

Trump argued that the contested area in Syria was only about 22 miles of borderland in Turkey, and that the Kurds had been fighting the conflict for years.

“Let them have their borders,” he said, referring to Turkey, “But I don’t think that our soldiers should be there for the next 50 years guarding a border between Turkey and Syria when we can’t guard our own borders at home.”

“We killed ISIS, we did our job, we have to go home,” Trump said.

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