Turkish invasion of Syria and the reaction of the Czech politicians – the operation must be stopped

Turkish invasion of Syria and the reaction of the Czech politicians – the operation must be stopped
14 / 10 / 2019, 09:00

Reactions and disputes of leading Czech politicians on the Turkish invasion of northern Syria: official reaction of Foreign Minister Petříček, Defence Minister Metnar, Prime Minister Babiš, opposition leader Miroslav Kalousek, Chairman of the Foreign Committee of the Lower House Ondřej Benešík, President Zeman, Communist Filip, populist Tomio Okamura or „Pirate“ Ivan Bartoš. Despite different points of view they all share critical views on "solutions" chosen by President Erdogan.

The official position of the Czech Republic was expressed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček: "The Turkish offensive will only worsen the situation of civilians and refugees in the region. In my opinion it will delay the return of people who had to leave their homes. I expect the EU to act together, and the United States should also contribute to the solution. Czech Republic continues to support the peace process in Syria, which should allow for post-war reconstruction of the country.“

The Ministry of Defence does not address the situation in Syria in any way on its website or Facebook profile. On Wednesday, Minister Lubomír Metnar was a guest of Radio Frekvence 1. He said he was informed and had close communication with his partners on the matter. He is of the opinion that conflicts should be resolved peacefully and hopes that operations will be halted soon. In line with the position of the European Union. Asked by listeners whether Turkey respects the Washington Treaty, he replied that this was a separate action taken by Turkey which is a sovereign state. The Czech Republic is not at war and it is a local conflict.

See also: Czech Borders Protection to Face the Migrant Crisis

At the end of September, Prime Minister Babiš supported Erdogan's intention to "build a security zone in northern Syria". However, after the start of the Turkish invasion of Syria, he wrote that he agreed with the EU position and condemns the Turkish procedure. He stated he was surprised by the development of the situation and that there was originally no question of military occupation.

Babiš was criticized by Miroslav Kalousek, his fearce political opponent, who described him as "a security risk for the country" due to PM’s tweet from 25th September (in which Babiš wrote to Erdogan that he confirmed support by the V4 countries to Turkey to build a security zone in northern Syria). On the day the attack began, Kalousek wrote: "It is a disgusting betrayal of the Allies who have shown incredible bravery in the struggle with the Islamic State. Now the US is pushing the Kurds into the arms of Assad, Russia and Iran."

Babiš was also criticized by the chairman of the Foreign Committee, Ondřej Benešík (KDU-ČSL political party): "The KDU-ČSL will ask Prime Minister Babiš to explain why he supported Turkey's aggression against the Kurds, which Ankara calls ‚creating a safe zone‘ and thus increase the already great migratory pressure on Europe? Or do we want to restore the ISIS? "

On Thursday President Zeman said in his interview for the TV Barrandov: "If it was about creating a security corridor for the passage of Syrian refugees from Turkey to their homeland, then everything would be fine. But I am concerned that Turkey wants to settle its accounts with the Kurds." The Kurds, in his words, have his sympathy for their struggle with the Islamic State.

See also: Current Foreign Deployments of the Czech Army

Communist Vojtěch Filip trusts the UN: "Attacking another sovereign state is inadmissible, I hope that the UN Security Council will find a way to deal with the matter and diplomats will speak instead of weapons.“

According to Tomio Okamura, leader of the populist SPD party, Kurd's autonomy is part of the solution: "The SPD considers the return to international law, ie the departure of all armies deployed in Syria without the Syrian government's approval, disarming illegal groups and recognizing Kurdish autonomy as a solution."

Ivan Bartoš, chairman of the Pirates, wrote: "The Czech Republic should immediately join the procedure of Great Britain, France and Germany and go through immediate negotiations and support steps to stop Turkey's invasion of northern Syria. At a time when the US President is talking about the Kurds not having supported the Americans in Normandy, and so it is no problem for him to betray his allies, it must be us Europeans who are going to start solving our problems. I find it disgraceful that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, unfamiliar with reality, expressed about a week ago his support to the Turkish President's plan - a plan that, from the beginning, was a mere cover for a crackdown on Kurdish militias that successfully defied the Islamic state. A plan that necessarily involved massive resettlement and ethnic cleansing."

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