The EU is not planning any economic sanctions on Turkey at the moment, a senior German diplomat said on Tuesday.
Briefing reporters ahead of an EU leaders summit this week, the senior diplomat said the leaders would discuss Turkey’s ongoing anti-terrorist operation in Syria, together with other major EU and international topics, during their two-day summit beginning on Thursday.
“The EU has made no plans so far to impose economic sanctions on Turkey,” he said, but stressed that the member states oppose Turkey’s military action and are closely watching developments.
EU foreign ministers on Monday spoke of limiting arms exports to Turkey, expressing worries over a humanitarian crisis and instability in the region. But no EU-wide arms embargo emerged from the meeting.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of American forces from northeastern Syria, which was widely interpreted in the media as a “green light” for Turkey’s anti-terror operation.
Trump later criticized Turkey’s military action and announced sanctions to pressure Ankara to cease the operation. His Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Washington will hold talks with European partners to press them to take similar diplomatic and economic measures.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly underlined that the Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria does not target Kurds, but aims to clear the region of the terrorist group PKK/YPG and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Reporting By Ayhan Simsek in Berlin