Flags of Turkey and Syria (Illustrative image)

Czech Foreign Minister calls on Turkey to halt intervention in Syria

The European Union's priority is a diplomatic solution to the situation in Syria, says Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček

Prague, Oct 14 (CTK) – Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček called on Turkey to halt its military action in Syria in a comment released to CTK by the Foreign Ministry’s press section after his meeting with the Turkish Ambassador to Prague Ahmet Bigali today.

The European Union’s priority is a diplomatic solution to the situation in Syria, Petříček repeated to the ambassador.

He also mentioned civilian victims dying during the Turkish intervention against Kurds in northern Syria.

Turkey started the military operation in Syria last Wednesday. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker demanded that Ankara stop it. France condemned the offensive and together with Britain and Germany asked for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, but it did not reach agreement on a joint statement on the Turkish offensive.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said Europe did nothing except for its calls and condemnation.

Petříček met Bigali this morning before his departure for a meeting of the Council of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in Luxembourg. He said it would primarily deal with the EU’s further steps.

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“I personally reiterated to the ambassador that the EU’s priority is a diplomatic solution to the situation in Syria and that further conflicts did not contribute to the stability of the region. I thereby called on Turkey to halt the military action and pushed for a diplomatic solution. Only an immediate truce can open space to such negotiations,” Petříček said.

He also talked with the ambassador about the civilians, including human rights activists, dying after the Turkish attacks in Syria.

“Further dozens of thousands of people had to leave their homes again. This is not the path to terminate the war in Syria,” Petříček noted.

He also pointed out that the Czech view of Kurds differed from the Turkish one. “They (Kurds) are allies who helped defeat Islamic State for the United States and the EU ,” Petříček added.

Babiš again condemned the Turkish military operation in northeast Syria at a meeting with journalists after the talks of President Milos Zeman’s expert team on Sunday.

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Europe has done nothing except for calls and condemnation of the military intervention, Babiš said. He previously said he was convinced the offensive could have been prevented if the world powers actively negotiated with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

hol/dr/pvr

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