Many European nations have failed to justly condemn Turkey’s military operation in Afrin because they are being “blackmailed” by Europe’s refugee deal with Ankara, a vice president of the EU parliament told Rudaw in Brussels.
Turkey is “bombing the Kurdish soldiers that were the real authors of the defeat of Daesh [ISIS] on the ground. This is a paradox. We have seen a very silent approach from the EU, not condemning these kinds of attempts in the strongest way that is really deserved, just because we think, in a certain way, many European countries are blackmailed by this illegal agreement with Turkey,” said Fabio Massimo Castaldo.
After more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Africa and beyond walked into Europe, thousands dying in treacherous boat crossings, seeking safety and better lives, the European Union signed a controversial deal with Turkey in March 2016.
Under the deal, Turkey would stem the flow of people into Europe in exchange for financial assistance, visa concessions, and progress in negotiations regarding accession to the European Union.
Castaldo, however, said that the current Turkish government is showing “less and less” respect for human rights and “clearly does not have the will” to respect EU principles.
He accused Turkey of putting Kurdish lives at risk with its ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin that is “clearly undermining the peace process” in Syria.
Europe’s “soft approach” to Turkey has not seen any success, Castaldo said.
Instead of using all the means available, including pressure through NATO, Europe has turned their heads, he said. “This is not acceptable.”
He extended a personal message of support for the people of Afrin, saying, “Don’t give up. Maybe the European governments are not beside you, but for sure many millions and the large majority of European politicians are beside you. They will recognize the huge force and the terrible blood tribute you paid to defeat the terrorists, defeat Daesh, and we will stand for your rights.”
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on January 20.