EU chief Sassoli says Turkey operation in Syria is 'an act of war'

Access to the comments Comments
By Rachael Kennedy  & Lauren Chadwick
EU chief Sassoli says Turkey operation in Syria is 'an act of war'
Copyright  Reuters

Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria is "an act of war", says EU Parliament President David Sassoli, who said the EU must do what is necessary to bring the operation to an end.

"This is not a policing operation," he told journalists in Brussels on Thursday. "It's an act of war carried out by a NATO state."

The 63-year-old went on to suggest that the EU should enforce stricter sanctions to include existing arms deals, and should suspend all talks with Turkey about potential membership to the bloc.

"Sanctions should be much tougher and include existing contracts," Sassoli said.

The EU has already pledged to not sign any new arms deals with Turkey after it launched its operation against Kurdish-led forces last week, but this does not cover existing deals in place.

"We must consider the full range of economic sanctions when deciding what action to take in respect of the Turkish government," he added.

"These must target individuals and businesses and must not affect civil society and people already hard hit by the country’s economic crisis."

Sassoli later commented on the "dangerous" cases of the incursion leading to the escapes of families of so-called Islamic State fighters and referred again to putting "stringent sanctions" in place.

He said: "Of course it's dangerous. We're talking about a country to which we owe a debt because their efforts in the battlefield allowed us to defeat the Islamic State.

"We want there to be very stringent sanctions and we would like to see an EU initiative, which would lay down the basics of a stop to that intervention."