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 Full text 
Wednesday, 23 October 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

The Turkish military operation in northeast Syria and its consequences (debate)

  Tineke Strik, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, exactly two weeks ago Turkey began a planned military offensive in north-east Syria and two weeks in which many civilians have been killed, nearly 200 000 Syrians were forced to flee their homes and among them are 80 000 children in desperate need of aid and shelter, while humanitarian organisations were forced to leave the country.

The situation in Syria is again a humanitarian tragedy which should not continue another day. The withdrawal of the US troops has left the Syrian and Kurdish people with no other option than to wait for the solution Erdoğan and Putin will come up with. Although the EU should use its power to de-escalate the conflict and stop the violence, it seems to be invisible on the world stage and therefore today the Greens call upon the EU to take up its role as a proactive actor to force Erdoğan to withdraw his troops and refrain from deporting Syrian refugees back to Syria, by placing targeted sanctions and visa bans on Turkish government officials, imposing a full arms embargo and by working on suspension of the trade agreements. At the same time we should proactively protect the Syrian refugees by stepping up their resettlement and take our fair share in their protection. We cannot wait any longer with action and we therefore urge the support for the proposed resolution.

Mr President, ISIS terrorists escape displacement camps posing a risk to the Syrian people and leaving us with no control over the persecution. The Greens therefore urge the EU Member States to repatriate their nationals and their family members to prosecute them at home and take care of their children. It’s our duty to reduce the security risk and also to prevent children from being the victims. And as we all know one of the goals of Erdoğan’s invasion is to deport Syrian refugees to their country. However, even a so—called safe zone cannot protect them against violence and persecution, as deportation would violate the Refugee Convention the EU must refrain from returning Syrian refugees to Turkey as long as this risk of deportation exists. But deportation would also mean a demographic change of the population in north-east Syria, which is also a crime against humanity. As the Kurds, who fought on our side, will probably lose their autonomy the EU should at least make all efforts to ensure that their rights are upheld. So high time to be pro-active.


Last updated: 18 November 2019Legal notice