Germany steps up pressure on Turkey over Syria offensive

Germany steps up pressure on Turkey over Syria offensive
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel briefs the media in Berlin, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP)
Updated 25 January 2018

Germany steps up pressure on Turkey over Syria offensive

Germany steps up pressure on Turkey over Syria offensive

BERLIN: Germany hardened its stance Thursday against Turkey over its military offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria, which threatened to end a thaw in frosty relations between the NATO partners.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel voiced “great concern” about Turkey’s cross-border military incursion, called for NATO to discuss the situation and said Berlin would put on ice any weapons deals.
Most painfully for Turkey, he postponed for at least several months a request to upgrade German-made Leopard tanks which Ankara has deployed in its operation against the Syrian-Kurdish militia YPG.
Gabriel said Berlin and Paris were committed “to stopping a further escalation, to allowing humanitarian access and protecting the civilian population. That has top priority.”
Germany is home to three million ethnic Turks and hundreds of thousands of Kurds, and tensions heightened by the military conflict have again spilled into the EU country.
Kurdish protesters brawled with Turkish air passengers at Hanover airport on Monday, while in the eastern city of Leipzig attackers smashed the windows of mosques run by the Turkish-controlled Ditib organization.