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 Full text 
Wednesday, 23 October 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

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

  Malik Azmani, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Mr President, the Turkish military operation in north-eastern Syria is cause for a great concern and is leading to chaos in the region. Reports speak of hundreds of casualties, hundreds of thousands of displaced people, and even of executions. ISIS terrorists have escaped prison and as a direct result of the Turkish move and the US withdrawal, revival of ISIS and the possible return of these terrorists to European soil presents also an immediate safety threat to our societies, for our citizens.

By asking questions to the European Commission, by sending a letter to the High Representative Ms Mogherini, which was widely supported by more than 250 colleagues – and I am grateful for that – and by engaging with the Turkish authorities, I have in the past weeks attempted on behalf of Renew Europe to contribute to ending this violence. But so far, the EU’s response has not been strong enough. We cannot just stand by and see how others interfere, for example, Russia, Assad, Iran. It’s also our safety that is at stake.

For Renew Europe, the road does not end here. Tomorrow, the European Parliament has the unique opportunity to speak with one clear voice, one voice to make perfectly clear to Turkey that we do not accept this, and to call upon the EU to take a strong stance now.

I ask my colleagues in this House to support me in urging the High Representative to set up an immediate dialogue with the Turkish authorities, to reach a sustainable solution, and to hold Erdoğan to his promise of keeping ISIS prisoners in detention. However, we must be prepared for firmer action. Arms, economic and targeted sanctions are also on the table. Let us combine our strength and show unity and bring an end to the violence now. We owe it to the people in the region and to our European citizens. Please, Commission, get off the side-line and act.

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