By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA) - Germany and France understand Turkey’s security concerns, but both European countries do not want to harm peace talks on Syria with a new military confrontation, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday.
Commenting on Turkey’s ongoing military operation against the PYD/PKK terrorist group in northwestern Syria, Gabriel urged all sides to take steps towards de-escalation.
“Together with France, we are trying to prevent further escalation, to make humanitarian access possible and to protect the civil population. That is the top priority,” he said in a press release.
“Together with France, we are also striving to ensure that Turkey’s security interests are taken into consideration.
"However, as we still have a chance for political negotiations to achieve peace and stability in Syria, this should not be undermined by further military confrontation.”
He also urged for a debate within NATO on the recent developments in Syria.
"I have requested from the NATO secretary general to hold consultations within NATO on the situation in Syria and in the northern part of that country,” he said.
Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove terrorist groups from Afrin and prevent a "terror corridor" from forming along its border with Syria.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.
The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, which waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, killing nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU, the PKK resumed its armed campaign against the Turkish state in July 2015. Since then, more than 1,200 security personnel have been martyred in related violence.