Canada suspends new export permits to Turkey amid Syrian military operation

Canada has temporarily suspended new export permits to Turkey in light of the country’s military incursion into northern Syria.

Global Affairs Canada confirmed the temporary suspension to Global News in an email statement, reiterating that Canada “condemns” Turkey’s decision.

“This unilateral action risks undermining the stability of an already fragile region, exacerbating the humanitarian situation and rolling back progress achieved by the Global Coalition Against Daesh, of which Turkey is a member,” the statement read.

“We call for the protection of civilians and on all parties to respect their obligations under international law, including unhindered access for humanitarian aid.”

Canada has been vocal in its disapproval of Turkey’s recent actions since the military operation began last week.

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Turkey is targeting Kurdish forces, and the move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly decided last Sunday that American troops would not interfere in it — a radical shift in American foreign policy.

Tens of millions of Kurds live on land divided among Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, comprising sizable minority populations in each country, and many seek a separate state.

Click to play video: 'Pence says Trump did ‘not give green light’ to Turkey to invade Syria'
Pence says Trump did ‘not give green light’ to Turkey to invade Syria

Other countries have also suspended deals with Turkey, citing its decision to target Kurdish forces. The United Kingdom announced Tuesday it would halt new arms export licences to Turkey.

“The U.K. government takes its arms export control responsibilities very seriously, and in this case, of course, we will keep our defence exports to Turkey under very careful and continual review,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in British Parliament.

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“No further export licences to Turkey for items that might be used in military operations in Syria will be granted while we conduct that review,” he added.

France and Germany are among the other countries that have also temporarily suspended arms exports.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also spoke out against Turkey’s military operation Tuesday, expressing concern about the effect it could have on the fight against the Islamic State group and stability in the region.

Stoltenberg said the move to suspend deals with Turkey “reflects that many NATO allies are very critical and are condemning the military operation in northern Syria.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council will hold a closed meeting Wednesday on the situation.

Germany requested the meeting on behalf of the five council nations that are members of the European Union, diplomats speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Associated Press. The other EU council members are France, United Kingdom, Belgium and Poland.

— With files from Reuters, Associated Press

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