The Turkish Syria offensive is not legitimate for Foreign Minister Maas under international law – he therefore does not exclude further EU measures against Turkey. The fact that the Turkish president attacked him personally, he sees against it. Erdogan would rather shoot with words than with missiles.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called the Turkish offensive in northern Syria a violation of international law. "We do not believe that an attack on Kurdish units or Kurdish militias is legitimized under international law or is also legitimate," said the SPD politician on the ZDF program "Berlin direct". "If there is no basis in international law for such an invasion, then it is also not in accordance with international law."
He wanted to work for the end of the military operation. "We will do everything we can to ensure that this ceasefire not only lasts for five days, but that it lasts longer and thus stops the invasion for the time being," said the Foreign Minister, referring to the ceasefire negotiated between the US and Turkey.
Maas reacted calmly to the personal attacks of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He would not go into the insults, said the Foreign Minister. "As a result, I prefer, Mr. Erdogan shoots with words as with missiles, if we can communicate it, he can continue to berate me." Following the restriction of German arms exports to Ankara, Erdogan Maas had sharply attacked last week . Erdogan said: "You do not understand politics, you are a political dilettante."
Economic sanctions possible
Maas considers a dialogue with Turkey to be necessary despite all this – including whether or not Syrian civil war refugees leave Turkey may be transferred against its will to the targeted security zone in northern Syria. The refugee agreement between the EU and Ankara also plays a role here. "We will not pay for things that we believe are not legitimate or legal," Maas pointed out.
Further measures against Turkey within the EU were not ruled out by the SPD politician. "We have made it very clear that we want to keep open other measures, including economic sanctions, and that is why we now want to wait and see what happens after this ceasefire, how Turkey will continue to behave."
It is also conceivable to cap the Hermes guarantees with which the Federal Government hedges transactions of German companies abroad. Such a regulation already existed in 2017. "We will deal with this when the time comes," said Maas. It is important to agree with the European partners: "Here too we have to speak with one voice in Europe."