Leaders in the US and Europe have taken a definitive stance against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s offensive in Syria, which has already displaced over 130,000 people, according to the United Nations. There are also reports of Turkish-backed forces killing Kurdish fighters and Islamic State members escaping prisons guarded by Kurds.
Merkel reportedly told Erdogan over the phone to immediately stop the military operation, her spokeswoman reportedly told Reuters.
On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with Erdogan over Britain’s “grave concerns” about Turkey’s operation.
“He expressed the UK’s grave concern about Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria which he said could further worsen the humanitarian situation there and undermine the progress made against Daesh,” a Johnson spokesman told Reuters.
“The Prime Minister was clear that the UK cannot support Turkey’s military action. He urged the President to end the operation and enter into dialogue, and said the UK and international partners stand ready to support negotiations towards a ceasefire.”
On Thursday, dozens of President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced that they would introduce legislation to impose sanctions against Turkey in response to its military offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria.
"President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan and his regime must face serious consequences for mercilessly attacking our Kurdish allies in northern Syria," Republican Representative Liz Cheney, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, said in a statement.
When asked by a reporter if he was concerned Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will wipe out the Kurds, US President Donald Trump replied: "I will wipe out his economy if that happens."
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte commented on the situation on Friday, saying that the European Union must not bow to threats from Turkey to push millions of Syrian refugees into EU countries, adding that Ankara should stop its military operations in northern Syria at once.
"The EU cannot accept this blackmail. Turkish efforts to welcome in Syrian refugees cannot then become a tool of blackmail for a military initiative that we cannot accept and which must immediately stop," Conte told reporters.
Turkey, which still formally aspires to join the European Union despite mounting EU criticism of Ankara's human rights record, has been stung by EU criticism of its air and land offensive against formerly U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters.
In a speech on Thursday, Turkish President Erdogan told the European Union to "pull itself together" and threatened that if the bloc labeled the operation an occupation he would "open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees" to Europe.