Sweden to propose weapons embargo against Turkey after Syria offensive

Sweden to propose weapons embargo against Turkey after Syria offensive
Foreign Minister Ann Linde. Photo: Erik Abel / TT
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde has proposed stopping the export of weapons to Turkey after the country launched an offensive against Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria.

Linde said she planned to put the proposal of a weapons embargo to parliament on Friday.

“I will propose to parliament that Sweden at the EU meeting of Foreign Ministers should push for a weapons embargo against Turkey,” the minister told TT.

“We think that what Turkey is now doing is an escalation of the situation, it is a crime against international law and a military action which means the Kurds will pay a high price instead of us respecting the sacrifices they made in the fight against Daesh,” she said, using an alternative name for terror group Isis.

Linde said that a weapons embargo would be the most effective measure to take, but could not comment on whether an embargo from the EU would be sufficient. Neighbours Norway and Finland have this week decided to stop weapons exports to Turkey.

Over the past two years, the Foreign Minister said Sweden had exported a range of materials to Turkey, ranging from fire blankets to shields, but no weapons or materials for warfare. 

At the same time, Sweden also plans to increase its financial support to Syria by 100 million kronor, according to a report by Ekot, with the decision expected to be taken next week.

Minister for Development Assistance Peter Eriksson said: “There has been a great humanitarian need in the refugee camps for some time. Now after what has happened, there are even more refugees and an even greater need of fundamental things like food, water and shelter.”

That money will be sent to organizations such as the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR and OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).

Eriksson said that the increased aid should not be seen as a political stance against Turkey. “We have worked for seven years in Syria since the war started. Now we see that the problem is worsening,” he said.


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