EU fails to impose arms embargo on Turkey

The member states, which condemned the Turkish military operation, simply pledged to "adopt firm national positions" on the issue.

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Syrian regime forces on Monday (October 14th) approached Turkey's northern border, where Ankara troops and its Islamist militias are still fighting Kurdish forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launches last Wednesday a military operation in northern Syria against Kurdish forces – described as terrorists by Ankara, but longtime partners of Westerners in the fight against jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, sparked an international outcry.

On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Turkey to cease its operation. The European Union (EU) condemned Monday the Turkish military operation, which "Seriously jeopardizes the stability and security of the whole region", according to a joint declaration adopted by EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.

Read our report: Reduced to seek the reinforcement of Damascus, Kurds mourn the end of a world

Meeting in Luxembourg the next day, EU foreign ministers failed to impose arms embargo on Turkey, because of opposition from the United Kingdom, have we learned from diplomatic sources. In recent days, several countries – including France – had announced the suspension of arms sales in Ankara. Italy, one of Turkey's main suppliers, called on Sunday for a "Moratorium".

Member States have simply committed themselves to "To adopt firm national positions on their arms export policy towards Turkey", specifies the statement. The fact that Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been advanced as an argument by the United Kingdom to reject the embargo.

The European Union has also called for «A ministerial meeting of the international coalition against Daesh (the jihadist group Islamic State, EI), to consider how to continue its efforts in the current context ".

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  • Kurdish forces accused of releasing IS members

For its part, Ankara accused the Kurdish forces of deliberately releasing IS members they held in northeastern Syria. A senior Turkish official speaking on condition of anonymity claimed that the Kurdish militia YPG (People's Protection Units) "Released these Daesh prisoners to wreak havoc in the region".

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, echoed this theory. But, according to the tenant of the White House, the goal of the Kurds is to force Washington to take part in the conflict. "We are not going to engage in another war between people who have been fighting for 200 years, he claimed on Twitter. Do people really think that we should go to war against Turkey, which is a member of NATO? The endless wars will stop! " He further assured that these jihadists could be "Easily recaptured by Turkey or the European countries from which many originate".

The UN Secretary-General has also expressed concern over the possible release of IS fighters.

  • At least 160,000 displaced, according to the United Nations

The Turkish military offensive has caused the displacement of at least 160,000 people, said Monday the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN). Antonio Guterres, "Seriously concerned" by the evolution of the situation in the north of the country, calls for "Immediate de-escalation and urges all parties to solve their problems peacefully".

He also asks them to observe "Maximum restraint" and that any military operation preserves civilians. Guterres also demands unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian aid.


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