European countries struggle to make Ankara listen to reason

If the warnings of several capitals, including Paris and Berlin, show the growing isolation of Turkey, they will have little effect on the offensive in northeastern Syria.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a press conference on October 13 in Istanbul. AP

This is a blow to the Turkish authorities as the operation against the Syrian Kurds intensifies. Paris decided "To suspend any plans for the export to Turkey of war material likely to be used as part of the offensive in Turkey". The announcement was made Saturday, October 12 by the French ministries of armies and foreign affairs.

Norway – not a member of the EU – was the first to announce such an embargo, followed by the Netherlands and then Germany. Receiving Sunday evening at the Elysee, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, recalled that the Turkish offensive could create "An unsustainable humanitarian situation" and D'"Help" the Islamic State group "To re-emerge in the region".

"Our common desire is that this offensive cease. Our conviction to one and the other is that this offensive takes the risk, on the one hand, and we already see it on the ground, to create unsustainable humanitarian situations and on the other hand to help Daesh to re-emerge in the region ", said the head of state, which will meet Sunday at 10 pm a small defense council.

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Symbolic measures

These measures of suspension of the contracts of armament are above all symbolic. In both senses of the word. They sound like a warning sign of the growing isolation – including among its allies – of Turkey, a pillar since 1952 of the southeastern flank of NATO. However, they will have little effect on the current offensive. "The operation was obviously well-prepared for a long time and the Turkish armed forces like President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have obviously taken their precautions and have all the necessary stocks", says Marc Pierini, former EU representative in Ankara and researcher at Carnegie Europe, noting that "Paris, like Berlin, could not remain without reacting".

According to the latest report to the Parliament of the Ministry of Arms on arms exports, Turkey has ordered 45.1 million euros of French military equipment in 2018. It is a relatively marginal customer. On the other hand, Ankara remains the largest purchaser of German weapons in NATO, with some € 242.8 million in 2018, or nearly a third of all German arms exports. war (770.8 million euros). Hence the reaction of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu, who tried to explain to German radio Deutsche Welle that this offensive in northern Syria was a "Vital question" and "A question of national security, a question of survival".


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