Erdogan hit by more arms bans as pressure grows over Syria invasion

Erdogan’s assault against Kurdish forces, launched last week, has prompted a chorus of international condemnationErdogan’s assault against Kurdish forces, launched last week, has prompted a chorus of international condemnation. (Presidential Press Service via AP)
Updated 16 October 2019

Erdogan hit by more arms bans as pressure grows over Syria invasion

  • United States threatens more sanctions
  • Britain, Spain and Sweden joined Germany and France in suspending military exports

ANKARA: Three more countries halted arms sales to Turkey on Tuesday as pressure mounted on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the Turkish invasion of northeast Syria.

Britain, Spain and Sweden joined Germany and France in suspending military exports, and the US threatened Ankara with more sanctions unless Erdogan halts the offensive.

“We will keep our defense exports to Turkey under very careful and continual review,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said. “No further export licenses to Turkey for items which might be used in military operations in Syria will be granted while we conduct that review.”

Spain, a major arms exporter to Turkey, urged Erdogan to “put an end to this military operation” because it endangered regional stability, increased the number of refugees and threatened Syria’s territorial integrity.

“In coordination with its EU partners, Spain will deny new export licenses for military equipment that can be used in the operation in Syria,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Sweden also halted exports of military combat equipment. “Two permits that have been active have now been recalled,” it said.

BACKGROUND

Vice President Mike Pence will hold talks with Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday, and the UN Security Council will discuss the invasion.

Erdogan’s assault against Kurdish forces, launched last week, has prompted a chorus of international condemnation. “Many NATO allies are very critical and are condemning the military operation in northern Syria,” said Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, the Western military alliance of which Turkey is a member.

Russia’s presidential envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, said Turkey had no right to deploy its forces in Syria permanently, and Moscow had not approved the operation.

US President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions on Turkey on Monday, and on Tuesday the US said more sanctions would follow unless the invasion was halted.

“The plan is to continue the pressure on Turkey as we evaluate our chances to return the relationship to normal, a major element of that return to normal would be a cease-fire,” a senior administration official said. “And by cease-fire what I mean is forces on the ground stop moving on the ground.”

Vice President Mike Pence will hold talks with Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday, and the UN Security Council will discuss the invasion.


3 Iraqi protesters killed in clashes with security forces

Updated 42 sec ago

3 Iraqi protesters killed in clashes with security forces

  • The security and hospital officials said on Thursday that one protester was killed when security forces used live rounds to repel demonstrators from Ahrar Bridge

BAGHDAD: Iraqi officials say three anti-government protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces overnight in Baghdad.

The security and hospital officials said on Thursday that one protester was killed when security forces used live rounds to repel demonstrators from Ahrar Bridge.

The officials say the two other protesters were killed in clashes on the city’s Sinak Bridge, when security forces fired tear gas canisters to repel them.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Protesters have been occupying parts of Baghdad’s three main bridges — Sinak and Ahrar and Jumurhiya Bridg — leading to the heavily fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government.