U.S. call for Turkish arms ban on hold
October 23, 2019 - The U.S. Congress has put on hold a ban on arms sales to NATO ally Turkey in retaliation for Ankara’s military operations against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in Syria. Several EU nations have already halted arms sales.
Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have acted independently to suspend arms export licence approvals to Turkey.
The EU has stopped short of endorsing an official collective embargo, although a working group in the Council of the European Union is due to convene imminently to co-ordinate and review member states’ positions on an arms embargo.
The most recent EU Annual Report on Arms Exports reported that the 28 member states approved licences to Turkey worth €2.78 billion ($3.1bn) in 2017. Three countries accounted for more than 80 per cent of the total: Spain (€965.92 million), France (€736.48 million) and the UK (659.74 million).
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said a ceasefire in northern Syria is now permanent and lifted sanctions on Turkey as a result.
Following the truce, leading U.S. senators withheld legislation temporarily to ban weapons sales to Ankara, mandate an investigation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s finances, impose fines on Turkish bank Halkbank and prevent U.S. investors from buying Turkish sovereign debt.
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