Near and Middle East


Syria conflict: No more EU weapons for Erdogan!

In view of Turkey’s “Operation Source of Peace” in Northern Syria, which has now been launched, the EU must at least now react unequivocally. Once again, people who have to flee from war are becoming the bargaining chip in a proxy conflict. This is deeply cynical. Erdogan is using the fate of the Syrian refugees as a means of exerting pressure on the EU. He also spoke about this with Spiegel-Online. In an article on the escalation on Wednesday I called for a clear condemnation of the invasion, which is contrary to international law. There must not be a conflagration in the region, for which Europe also supplies weapons. The Member States have a duty to impose an immediate halt to all arms exports to Turkey and to suspend military cooperation immediately.

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So far the EU has hardly played a role in the Syrian conflict. The possibilities of exerting influence on Turkey are also limited: Accession negotiations have been frozen and the prospect of visa facilitation has not materialised. Even before Erdogan’s marching orders, I spoke to the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland about the fact that the EU must not allow itself to be pressured into controlling migration on the basis of supposed self-interest. It is frustrating that the EU states could not agree on a clear warning to the Turkish government in the run-up to the invasion. A draft text to this effect was rejected by Hungary’s veto. Unfortunately, this once again showed how much the unanimity principle restricts the EU’s ability to act in foreign policy.

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