Italy favoring arms embargo 'disappoints' Turkey

By Baris Seckin

ROME (AA) – Italy's attitude towards Turkey's anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria is disappointing, according to Turkey’s foreign minister.

Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized Italy's statements on a proposed arms embargo on Turkey, speaking to Italian daily Il Messaggero in a piece published Monday.

"Some statements coming from Italy regarding the imposition of an arms embargo on Turkey are unacceptable," said Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu said Turkey is "very sad" that Italy is in the forefront of European countries pushing for an embargo.

"We expect more solidarity and support from the Italian government against the PYD/YPG terror group," he stressed, referring to the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK.

Cavusoglu said Turkey is carrying out Operation Peace Spring to eliminate the YPG/PKK threat to Turkey's national security.

He said the operation is in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter, which concerns the right to self-defense.

Cavusoglu called on Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to take the necessary steps to prevent a deterioration in ties and cooperation between the two countries.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

On Oct. 17, Turkey agreed to pause the operation for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned safe zone.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG/PKK.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

* Writing by Fatih Hafiz Mehmet in Ankara