In a four-party statement, the Turkish parliament on Thursday condemned the European Parliament’s (EP) call for sanctions on Ankara due to the country’s military operation in northern Syria, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
“We, as the political parties in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, on behalf of our great Turkish nation, completely reject the EP’s decision today on our country’s ongoing operation against terror groups in northern Syria,” said the joint statement.
The statement was penned by deputy chairs of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), it’s ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the opposition İYİ (Good) Party.
The statement noted that Turkey “has displayed the maximum sensitivity not to harm civilians and civil infrastructure” during the operation.
“Turkey has taken all necessary steps [not to harm civilians],” the statement said.
“We want to once again remind the European Parliament, which backed a terror group and stood aligned with it instead of backing Turkey in its fight against terror groups, that the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by NATO and the EU,” it added.
The European Parliament said on Thursday that Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring was “a violation of international law, undermining the stability and security of the region as a whole.”
The members of the EP called on the European Council to introduce a set of targeted sanctions and visa bans on Turkish officials responsible for human rights abuses as well as consider adopting targeted economic measures against Turkey. The MEPs also proposed that suspending trade preferences in an agricultural products agreement should be considered and as a last resort, the suspension of the EU-Turkey customs union.
Ankara launched a military offensive in the northeastern Syria on Oct. 9 to keep Kurdish militia away from its borders and establish a safe zone for the relocation of Syrian refugees living in Turkey.
Turkey deems the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist organization that has waged decades-long insurgency in the country’s Southeast.