European football’s governing body UEFA will ‘examine’ Turkey footballers’ military salute

A number of countries have condemned Turkey’s offensive, and Finland, Norway and The Netherlands have already announced that they are stopping arms exports to the country.

Activists wave flags and show banners as they protest against the ongoing Turkish military operation in the Syrian border region and the Kurdish territories, in Cologne. Photo: EPA-EFE

Activists wave flags and show banners as they protest against the ongoing Turkish military operation in the Syrian border region and the Kurdish territories, in Cologne. Photo: EPA-EFE

A meeting in Luxembourg Monday of the European Union’s foreign affairs committee will decide on a coordinated European approach to the issue, French statement said.

It noted France’s “firm condemnation of the unilateral offensive engaged by Turkey in the northeast of Syria”.

Both the French and German statements Saturday warned that the offensive could have serious humanitarian consequences.

Germany will not issue any new permits for any military equipment that could be used in Syria by Turkey, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was quoted as saying in the Sunday edition of Bild newspaper.

Responding to Germany’s announcement, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Germany’s Deutsche Welle radio that it was “a question of national security, a question of survival”.

Any arms embargo would only strengthen their resolve, he added.

“Even if our allies support the terrorist organisation, even if we are alone, even if an embargo is imposed, whatever they do, our struggle is directed against the terrorist organisation,” he said, referring to the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG has been the backbone of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces who were the main partner on the ground in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group.

Ankara considers the YPG a “terrorist” offshoot of Kurdish rebels who have been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish state for three decades.

Thousands of people marched in several European countries Saturday to protest the Turkish assault and condemn US President Donald Trump for having abandoned the Kurds as a key ally.

The SDF lost 11,000 fighters in the protracted US-led campaign against IS before finally overrunning the jihadists’ self-proclaimed “caliphate” in March.

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