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Czech politicians urge EU to put more pressure on Turkey over Syria

It is crucial for the EU to get actively involved in the matter and to pressure Turkey into halting the violence altogether, say Czech MPs

Prague, Oct 18 (CTK) – The five-day Turkish ceasefire in northern Syria arranged by the United States on Thursday is only a short-term solution and it is crucial for the EU to get actively involved in the matter and to pressure Turkey into halting the violence altogether, Czech MPs told CTK today.

The position was expressed by Chamber of Deputies committee on foreign affairs chairman Ondrej Vesely (Social Democrats, CSSD) and committee on European affairs chairman Ondrej Benesik (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), among other Czech politicians.

Benesik stated that the EU should actively enter the talks and that Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) should exert pressure on the EU to do so.

The ceasefire was announced after eight days of fighting by the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, after his negotiations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The goal of the ceasefire is to give the Kurdish Protection Units (YPG) enough time to pull back from the Turkey-Syria border.

“If the ceasefire is upheld, it is a solution to the situation at the moment. However, it is crucial to continue putting pressure on Turkey to stop the aggression and pull their forces out of Syria. In this regard, the United States did not negotiate much,” Vesely told CTK.

Benesik considers peace to be the only viable long-term solution.

“At the moment, let us thank God for the five days at least, since it will stop the civilians’ suffering,” Benesik told CTK, adding that the EU must not let itself be appeased by the current agreement.

“The EU should get actively involved. The prime minister should pressure his colleagues in the European Council to task the European Commission with developing leverage against Turkey so that the situation in the region can calm down in the long run,” Benesik said.

Lower house deputy Jan Lipavsky (Pirates) considers the ceasefire to be a purely humanitarian act, giving the civilian population some time to escape the combat zones.

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“If the Kurdish forces agree with the conditions and pull back, it will be a loss for them. In the long term, it is absolutely unacceptable that Turkey should be able to occupy the north of the Syrian territory. Europe must continue searching for a united stance towards the aggressive Turkish regime led by President Erdogan,” Lipavsky told CTK.

Mayors and Independents (STAN) deputy group chairman Jan Farsky has doubts about the ceasefire.

“The Kurdish forces are to pull back, leaving their heavy weapons behind, while the Turkish units will not. To me, it seems like a call to ‘disarm yourselves voluntarily and get out.’ and that’s not how I imagine an operation called ‘Peace Spring’, a most cynical title selected by the Turks,” Farsky told CTK.

Defence committee chairwoman Jana Cernochova (Civic Democrats, ODS) said it is a positive thing that the bloodshed stopped for at least a while.

“I do not consider it (the ceasefire) sufficient since it is not a peaceful solution, but it is probably the maximum possible solution at the moment. Turkey should provide clear assurances that it will not continue its attacks on the civilians population and its decimation,” Cernochova told CTK.

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She added that it is important not to ignore that Islamic State fighters are now escaping from the Kurdish-run prisons in the region. “That is another big problem Turkey is accountable for and we must not ignore,” Cernochova said.

The Chamber of Deputies condemned the invasion to Syria on Tuesday, calling it a breach of international law.

According to a resolution voted for by 147 present members of the lower house of parliament, Babis is supposed to promote European Union economic and political measures aimed against Turkey. The nature of these measures should be of a kind that forces Turkey to halt its military operations.

bas/dr/hol

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