Finland, Norway, Netherlands halt arms sales to Turkey due to Syria incursion

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Three European countries, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands, have all decided to halt arms exports to Turkey due to a military offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria launched by Turkey on Wednesday.

Finland, which is not a member of the NATO alliance, announced on Wednesday the suspension of all new arms exports to Turkey or any other country involved in the fighting.

Turkey’s NATO ally Norway joined Finland on Friday and decided not to handle any demands from Turkey for the export of defense materiel.

“Given that the situation is complex and changing quickly, the foreign ministry as a precautionary measure will not handle any new demands for exports of defense material or material for multiple uses … to Turkey,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in an email sent to AFP.

She added that the ministry would also review all licenses for arms exportation that have already been issued.

In a statement on Friday the Dutch Foreign Ministry said the Netherlands would freeze all weapons exports to Turkey in the wake of the Turkish incursion into northern Syria.

“The Netherlands have now decided to withhold all license applications for the export of military goods to Turkey pending the course of the situation,” the ministry said in a statement sent to AFP.

Turkey launched its long-planned operation on Wednesday aimed at taking out the Kurdish forces it sees as terrorists but which most of the West views as key partners in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants. The Turkish military operation began days after a surprise and widely criticized White House announcement that US forces would withdraw from the region.

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