Following Turkey’s incursion into northeastern Syria, Britain and Spain joined other major powers in suspending military exports to Ankara. Britain is carrying out a review of arms sales to its NATO ally, its chief diplomat said. “We will keep our defence exports to Turkey under very careful and continual review,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement to parliament.
“No further export licences to Turkey for items which might be used in military operations in Syria will be granted while we conduct that review.” Spain, a major arms exporter to Turkey, similarly announced a halt to sales of military material.
Spain’s Socialist government asked Turkey to “put an end to this military operation”, saying it “endangered regional stability”, increased the number of refugees and threatened Syria’s territorial integrity.
“In coordination with its European Union partners, Spain will deny new export licences for military equipment that can be used in the operation in Syria,” a foreign ministry statement said.
“Turkey’s legitimate security concerns must be addressed and resolved by political and diplomatic means, not by military actions.” Spain was Turkey’s fifth biggest arms supplier between 2008 and 2018 after the United States, South Korea, Germany and Italy, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump announced he will authorise sanctions against Turkish officials, raise steel tariffs and end negotiations on a US dollar 100 billion trade deal. Trump said in a statement said: “This (executive) order will enable the US to impose powerful additional sanctions on those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriating refugees or threatening the peace, security or stability in Syria."
"I’m fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path," the president said.
Trump said he will be issuing the executive order authorising imposition of sanctions against current and former officials of Turkey and those contributing to destabilising Syria.