As for the choice of words, the German rejection of the Turkish Syria offensive hardly misses much clarity. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) condemns the invasion “in the strongest terms”. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) unambiguously demands the end of the military operation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Because there are already many dead and tens of thousands are on the run. Because the region is further destabilized. And because the IS terrorists may be strengthened again.
The indignation over the military operation against the Kurdish YPG militia is so great. By contrast, the willingness to put pressure on Erdogan with punitive measures is comparatively low – as the US has announced. The opposition considers this unanimous. The government has (not) done so far against the Syrian offensive – the overview in the star:
Measures taken by the Federal Government in the Syrian conflict
Protests with the Turkish government: First, Maas called his colleague Mevlüt Cavusoglu and then phoned Merkel for a long time with Erdogan. She called for “an immediate end to the military operation” and “regardless of legitimate Turkish security interests.”
Referral to the UN Security Council: Germany, together with other European countries, has organized a meeting of the UN Security Council on the Syria offensive. Result: no countable. It is also unlikely that the US and Russian veto powers involved in the conflict will agree on a common stance in the most important UN body. Nevertheless, the Europeans have already requested another meeting.
Joint statement: EU Foreign Ministers met on Monday to agree on a strong condemnation of the offensive, with the participation of Maas, but not common countermeasures such as a common, comprehensive arms embargo or the threat of economic sanctions.
Restriction of arms exports: The only German sanction against Turkey over the Syria offensive is a restriction on arms exports. You do not know, though, if she even attacks. Now exports of weapons that can be used in Syria are no longer authorized. But that would actually have been common practice since the first Turkish Syria offensive in 2016/17 or at least since the second invasion in 2018. In any case, export permits fell from 84 to 13 million euros between 2016 and 2018.
The Federal Government has not done so far
Complete armor export stop: This is not only demanded by the Greens and the Left, but also by the CDU politician and the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Norbert Röttgen. However, the Federal Government wants to continue to authorize the export of armaments that can not be used in the offensive. This can be, for example, shipments to the Navy, which is a good customer of the German defense industry and has received in the first four months of this year war weapons worth more than 180 million euros. Also already approved exports can go on as planned.
Cover or stop Hermes guarantees: These aids are intended to protect German exporters against losses due to the failure of payments from their foreign business partners. In 2018, Turkey was the country after Russia, for which the highest amount from the Treasury was allocated: 1.78 billion euros. Left and Greens are now calling for the removal of these aids, the FDP a cap.
Reduction of funding for Turkey: This demand comes from the left and the AfD. As an EU candidate for accession, Turkey is entitled to billions in aid, in the last two years alone, 633 million euros have been disbursed. The funds have already been reduced, but they can only be stopped if the accession negotiations are stopped. In no case the government wants to touch the 5.8 billion euro aid from the refugee pact between the EU and Turkey. On the contrary, the EU summit on Thursday and Friday will discuss whether additional funds should flow. Background: Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to let the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey across the border to Europe.
Sanctions against individuals: The US has imposed sanctions on three Turkish ministers. Potential assets of those affected in the US are frozen. Such sanctions can also imagine the foreign policy spokesman of the SPD parliamentary group, Nils Schmid. “The EU should vote with the US on personal sanctions,” he told Spiegel. The FDP also sympathizes with it.
Exclusion from NATO: This has brought left-fraction leader Dietmar Bartsch and the Green Parliament Vice President Claudia Roth in the conversation. But this is not planned in the treaty of alliance and would therefore be highly complicated. Apart from that, no member country has yet requested that.