By Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
BERLIN — Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria is coming under growing censure throughout Europe. It will be high on the list of foreign policy challenges facing the German government which has just come into being. Under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, a new version of the grand coalition made up of her CDU and sister party CSU, together with the Social Democrats (SPD), was officially constituted in mid March.
Turkey launched its military offensive aimed at Afrin on January 20, and justified its massive deployment of military strength as “self-defense.” But is the claim substantiated? If it were, Turkey would have the right to respond militarily, according to international law, as long as it did so in a “proportionate and measured manner,” as NATO secretary general Stoltenberg put it. The reports of civilian casualties speak of hundreds of innocents, mainly women and children; and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that over 3,000 Kurds, whom he defined “terrorists,” have been “neutralized.” Massive destruction of infrastructure has resulted from the bombardments. This does not look proportionate or measured.
In fact, not only is the claim to self-defense dubious; it is becoming evident that the Turkish action, cynically named “Operation Olive Branch,” constitutes a violation of international law.
Bundestag Experts Raise Doubts