Τρίτη, 9 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Turkey wrong to attack Syria, further bloodshed is 'no solution'

 

09 October 2012
Turkey's unsavoury track record of invasion and occupation, not to mention the violation of the principles of international and European law, must also be kept in mind – claims MEP 

On October 4, the Turkish parliament approved a law authorising the army to carry out operations in Syria. Since then, Turkey has been attacking targets in Syria using reprisal for the bombing of Free Syrian Army bases on the border of the country as an excuse. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already announced that Syrian soldiers moving closer to the border with Turkey will be treated as military targets, raising the appalling spectre of an all-out invasion of Syria.

Such a scenario is a real threat to stability in the Middle East region when talks within the framework of the United Nations mission are needed more than ever. While the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has reiterated its backing of Turkey's position, we on the left unambiguously oppose any armed intervention in Syria including via the supply of weapons and the funding of armed groups. Establishing a UN mediation mission to reach a cease-fire that puts an end to atrocities committed by both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and the opposition must be the number one priority. T

he Syrian people have a right to self-determination so they can carry out much-needed reforms in their country without any foreign military interference. Tensions in the region call for diplomatic action with a commitment to peace, in full compliance with the UN charter and international law. The horrific humanitarian consequences of military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have highlighted the urgent need for peace and negotiations. War only leads to more uncertainty, destruction, and loss of life.

Turkey's unsavoury track record of invasion and occupation, not to mention the violation of the principles of international and European law, must also be kept in mind. The most notorious example of this is its ongoing occupation of the northern part of the island of Cyprus in violation of the UN charter and the human rights and civil liberties of the Cypriot people. Its prevention of a bicommunal, bizonal federation solution for Cyprus in line with UN resolutions is threatening the peace process and endangering stability in a volatile region.

The delicate nature of relations in the Middle East means politicians must be firm in their dedication to peaceful solutions. This is why Israel's recent threats to strike Iran's nuclear sites have escalated tensions so worryingly. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's menacing language in a speech to the UN on Iran claimed that time was running out, but reminded all those working for peace that the prevention of a possible attack by Israel on Iran is paramount for the safety of all those living in the Middle East and beyond.

For the reasons above, it is crucial that Europe begins a re-evaluation of its approach not just to Syria or the Middle East but to its entire Common Foreign and Security Policy. The CFSP.s current thrust is mistaken and inappropriate for effectively dealing with the challenges facing people across the globe. Every day, 70,000 people die of hunger in the world while $4bn is spent on weapons of mass destruction. These resources could go to healthcare or education - concrete forms of security that are so badly lacking.

The CFSP must be based on peaceful principles and must respect international law and the UN charter. A demilitarised approach anchored in a long-term vision of the European Union's responsibility in the world could ensure real progress towards the goal of peace as opposed to the role the EU currently plays - as a driving force for armament within and outside Europe. With all this in mind, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy chief Catherine Ashton should refuse to support any military solution to the Syrian conflict. Bloodshed is no solution, the only possible way out is peace.

Willy Meyer MEP is vice-president of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee and a member of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group

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