Multilateral Relations

Syria: EU condemns Turkey’s military action

14/10/2019 - 19:41
News

EU foreign affairs ministers, gathered today in Luxembourg for a Foreign Affairs Council, have condemned Turkey's military action in north east Syria. "We have a common united European Union position … on the developments in the north-east of Syria … there is a clear condemnation from the European Union’s side of Turkey’s military action", said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the Council.

 

High Representative Mogherini also highlighted Member States' "clear and strong" national positions regarding their arms exports policy to Turkey. "We have a common position on arms exports control and they all committed to apply that framework to their exports of arms to Turkey."

Ministers agreed unanimously to adopt Council conclusions on North East Syria, stressing that Turkey's incursion "seriously undermines the stability and the security of the whole region, resulting in more civilians suffering and further displacement and severely hindering access to humanitarian assistance." The conclusions also warn that this action "makes the prospects for the UN-led political process to achieve peace in Syria far more difficult. It also significantly undermines the progress achieved so far by the Global Coalition to defeat Da'esh, stressing that Da’esh remains a threat to European security as well as Turkey’s, regional and international security."

The HRVP reaffirmed the Council's strong support for the UN mediated political process. "I am grateful to the UN Special Envoy, [Geir] Pedersen for joining us this morning and briefing us on the state of play, the perspectives and also the difficulties to restart of the political process under his auspices in Geneva."

"There is a strong support from our side, in the first place, to the beginning of the work of the Constitutional Committee. We believe that the fact that he has managed to find an agreement for the first time ever on the Constitutional Committee is very important. We definitely want to see the Committee starting to work in Geneva and we are ready to support it," she said.

She reiterated the EU's and its Member States' support and common commitment to the Global Coalition against Da’esh. "We call for a ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition, because we see the fact that Da’esh could re-find its breathing space inside this territory as one of the most immediate consequences of these military activities in the north-east of Syria and that worries us enormously. It is a direct security threat to the European Union, but not only to the European Union, first and foremost to the region and the international community. We want to see this tackled in the Global Coalition format."

HRVP Mogherini spoke of the consequences on the wider region and Europe: "there is obviously also our strong commitment, as usual, to the stability of the region. Let me say that in particular any attempt to have any kind of demographic engineering in that region would be seen from our side as particularly dangerous."

The Council conclusions reaffirmed the EU's commitment in addressing the serious humanitarian and refugee crisis in light of the evolving needs. Mogherini debriefed the Ministers on the call she had with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, who was recently in Gaziantep, and to whom she confirmed the EU's determination to support in particular the countries in the region that are facing important consequences from the humanitarian and refugee crisis.