Despite continuing criticism and warnings from Western allies, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is eager to continue the military offensive in northern Syria.
The fight against the Kurdish militia should continue "until the final victory," said Erdogan. Turkey was determined to finish the operation "without paying any attention to threats". It was "no matter what anyone says".
Erdogan dismissed criticism from the European Union (EU) and the Arab League in his action and demanded international money for his plans to establish a so-called security zone.
Turkey started its long-threatened military offensive against the Kurdish militia YPG on Wednesday following the withdrawal of US troops from the Syrian border area. More than 130,000 people have been displaced so far, several hundred killed.
Germany and France had recently announced that they will no longer deliver arms to Turkey because of the Turkish military offensive. However, attempts to enforce an EU-wide embargo at the meeting of EU foreign ministers failed.
Federal Foreign Office expresses doubts about compliance with international law
The Federal Foreign Office also expressed doubts that the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria is in conformity with international law. "As things stand, we can not see that the current situation in Syria would legitimize a military intervention directed against Kurdish groups there under international law," said a foreign spokesman.
Supreme protection would have "the observance of international humanitarian law and the protection of life and limb of the civilian population," said the spokesman for the Foreign Office. Chancellor Angela Merkel had spoken in a telephone conversation with Erdogan for an "immediate end to the military operation". NATO also again called Turkey to restraint.
The Turkish Consul General in Cologne, B. Ceyhun Erciyes, said that Turkey exercises "its right to self-defense" on the basis of international law. There should be no terrorist organization in its border area. The operation of Turkey in northern Syria is not directed against the Kurds, but against terrorists, emphasized Erciyes. The fought Kurdish militia YPG is the "Syrian arm of the terrorist organization PKK".
Republicans and Democrats are working on further sanctions
The influential Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham threatened Turkey with "crippling sanctions" over the military offensive. This sends an "unmistakable" message to Turkish President Erdogan and the world, Graham told Fox News. The US Congress is working on the issue with the government of President Donald Trump. According to Graham, US House of Representatives Democratic spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi supports the sanctions.
Just spoke with Speaker Pelosi regarding congressional action on Turkey's incursion of Syria. Speaker supports bipartisan sanctions against Turkey's outrages in Syria. So you believe we should show support for Kurdish allies and is concerned about the reemergence of ISIS.- Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 14, 2019
Donald Trump had previously threatened Turkey with a "destruction" of its economy should it do something "that I consider taboo in my great and incomparable wisdom." However, the US President did not make clear what he would consider a violation.
He called the military offensive "war": investigations against opposition politicians
Meanwhile, an investigation into a politician from the main opposition party CHP was launched in Ankara for criticizing the military offensive. According to the state news agency Anadolu, the Procuratorate in Ankara is investigating Sezgin Tanrikulu for "public insult to the Republic of Turkey".
Reason are therefore several interviews in the media and a tweet from Saturday. In it Tanrikulu wrote: "The government must know that, it is an unjust war and a war against Kurds." Tanrikulu had been attacked on social media in recent days for calling the Turkish military offensive against the Kurdish militia YPG a "war." Erdogan repeatedly claims that this is not a war, because it can only be conducted between two states.
Before the investigation became known, Tanrikulu had already defended himself against the allegations in social media and said that if there was freedom of expression in Turkey, then everyone should be free to express their thoughts. "And we will too."