Turkey rejects German minister’s Syria security zone plan

Germany today on Diplomacy Pakistan News

By Ergin Hava and Michael Fischer, dpa

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday rejected as unrealistic German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s plan for an internationally enforced security zone along Syria’s border with Turkey.”We find this proposal not very realistic,” Cavusoglu told a press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Ankara. “This does not concern Turkey alone, there are now the [Syrian] regime, Russia and other actors in this area.”

Cavusoglu called on the international community to focus instead on “humanitarian issues” and “eliminating terror” in Syria.

Maas reiterated that he does not support Kramp-Karrenbauer’s proposal either, admitting: “Everyone says it is not a realistic proposal … There is no time for theoretical debates for the people in Syria.”

Turkey launched its offensive in north-eastern Syria this month, mainly targeting the Syrian Kurdish militia, which it considers as terrorists. The offensive was halted after a ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States.

The Turkish operation was sharply criticized by Western allies.

Maas has described the offensive as an “invasion” and Germany has said it will not issue any new permits for military equipment that could be used in Syria by Turkey.

Turkey is disturbed by German criticism of the offensive, Cavusoglu said, adding Ankara expects Berlin to “act with the spirit of alliance” and “side with Turkey in its fight against terrorism.”

Maas said Ankara reassured Berlin that it will comply with international law as part of Turkey’s plans to relocate as man as as 2 million Syrian refugees to a “safe zone” in north-east Syria.

Turkey will handle the situation in a “humanitarian way”, Cavusoglu said.

Refugee advocacy group Pro Asyl on Saturday called for an end to the accord between the European Union and Turkey that aims to stem migrant flows.

“There is no protection there – neither for Syrians nor for Afghan refugees nor for Turkish members of the opposition,” Guenter Burkhardt, the head of Pro Asyl, said Saturday.

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