BERLIN (Reuters & others)
This Wednesday 21.03.2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Turkey’s military offensive on Syria’s northern town of Afrin “unacceptable”.
Turkey on Sunday stormed Afrin after a two-month offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. UNICEF estimates that about 100,000 people are still inside Afrin district, half of are children. While she also criticized Russia for “just watching” the continuing SAA action against militants on eastern Ghouta.
Frau Merkel’s speech addressed the Bundestag, the German Federal Parliament, in Berlin, Germany. She iterated that Turkey’s actions in Afrin were unacceptable despite its security interests. “I’m also condemning this in the strongest terms,” she added.
Before that the German government was criticised by opposition lawmakers and Kurdish migrants for not speaking out more clearly against the Turkish military offensive. Turkey’s use of German-made tanks in the operation and Erdogan’s demands for tank upgrades caused a major German discussion and were dismissed…
In her speech, Frau Merkel voiced concerns about the high civilian death toll and the flight of thousands of civilians. A major percentage of Germans including Frau Merkel are “Flüchtlinge”, descendants of refugees who had been displaced by the ethnic cleansings of the victorious Allies after WW II:
Not only Kurds but all minorities including Armenians, Christians, and Yazidey flee from the city and area. Turkey has committed major genocides against these minorities during the last century and before. And Turkish SFA mercenaries have a record for persecution of non Sunni during the ongoing war against Syria.
Frau Merkel is fully aware that her comments could reignite tensions with Ankara. Erdogan claims Turkish military attacks are defensive in nature and has criticized Berlin for not doing more to crack down on supporters of the Turkish-Kurdish PKK and not forbidding the Syrian-Kurdish YPG in Germany.
Frau Merkel reiterated that German relations with Turkey would stay difficult. Because her government would continue to fight for the release of Germans who are unlawfully detained by Ankara. Currently Erdogan tries to pressure Germany for political favours and financial handouts by detaining German journalists.
Frau Merkel said the European Union would provide an additional 3 billion Euros to help mainly Syrian refugees housed in refugee centres in Turkey - but no more.
At the same time the German foreign ministry called for an investigation of reports of massacres and looting in Afrin and urged a return to a political process to end the war in Syria.
A spokesperson said that Turkey had “justified security interests” about its borders but added that Ankara’s actions should and do not currently “remain within the limits of what is necessary and proportional.”
“We have, clearly, and I can’t deny it, especially in light of the most recent developments, significant doubts about the necessity and proportionality of the Turkish actions,” he added.