Germany opposes Turkish plans for operation in Syria

“The consequences of military operations are almost always suffering.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday held a joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu (Photo: Turkish Foreign Ministry).
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday held a joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu (Photo: Turkish Foreign Ministry).

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, on Friday during a visit to Turkey warned the Turkish government against a new operation in Syria, underling it would help ISIS and cause more pain for people.

“There is a right to self-defense, but it has narrow limits,” Baerbock said in a joint press conference with the Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul, underlining the importance of international law.

“Hypothetical threats and preemptive strikes are not included in them,” she added.

“The consequences of military operations are almost always suffering,” she said.

In a statement on Thursday before her diplomatic trip to Greece and Turkey, she underlined that 

“Turkey is an indispensable partner and is more closely linked to Germany than almost any other country.”

However, she underlined that she also would address “issues in Turkey on which we have fundamental differences at times, including the military interventions in northern Syria.”

But the Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavusoglu disagreed with her, and underlined that Turkish operations are only “anti-terrorist operations”, while claiming that military operations are only done against states, not insurgent groups.

Moreover, the Turkish FM also complained that Germany should do more against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

There is a large Kurdish community originally from the Kurdish majority southeast of Turkey (northern Kurdistan) living in Germany and many Kurdish organizations in Germany.

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In the past, Kurds from Germany have also been arrested by the Turkish police, causing diplomatic tensions between Germany and Turkey.

But Baerbock underlined that the PKK is banned in Germany and that any crimes are prosecuted according to the rule of law.

Turkey has threatened to launch an operation in northern Syria since May. Syrian Kurdish and US officials have warned such an operation would undermine the fight against ISIS.

Read more: Renewed armed hostilities will undermine stability in Syria: EU Syria Envoy

So far, major stakeholders in the conflict, such as Russia and the US have opposed a Turkish operation. The European Union also is opposed to a new operation.

Austrian expert on Kurdish affairs, Dr. Thomas Schmidinger, told Kurdistan 24 that initially Ukraine dominated the German position towards Turkey completely.

“Meanwhile the German government realized that other conflict zones also play an important role for the future of Europe and that another Turkish invasion would cause hundreds of thousands of new refugees and that at least a part of these would end up in Europe,” he said.

German FM Baerbock in her earlier statement also thanked Turkey for mediating a deal between Russia and Ukraine on exporting Ukrainian grain, praising it as a glimmer of hope to millions to avoid a hunger crisis.

Read more: Blinken lauds deal to export Ukrainian grain, underscoring Turkey’s new importance on world stage

“Minister Baerbock always sayed that she wants a value driven feminist foreign policy. Well, that's how such a policy looks like. So it's rather the question why she did not defend Rojava (northeast Syria) against Turkey until recently than why she does it now,” he concluded.