German politicians seek harsher measures against Turkey over Syria offensive

German politicians have demanded harsher measures ranging from ending Turkey’s customs union with the European Union to excluding it from NATO over the country’s military operation in Syria, DW Turkish reported on Thursday.

Turkey drew a wave of international criticism after launching an offensive on Oct. 9 against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara sees as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Germany, together with France, announced on Saturday that they were suspending arms exports to Turkey over the operation.

But several German politicians have said the measures did not go far enough to deter Ankara from its offensive.

The leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party, Christian Lindner, said Germany should lead the West's efforts to punish Turkey's offensive, calling it the "Islamic presidency dictatorship's invasion that is against international laws." Lindner has also demanded a special NATO summit on Turkey, DW Turkish said.

Manfred Weber, a Christian Social Union politician and the leader of the European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, said the customs union deal must be ended if Turkey continues its aggression in Syria despite EU's objections, according to DW Turkish.

Meanwhile, far-right Alternative for Germany leader Alexander Gauland asked for an end to Turkey's EU accession bid, or at least the suspension of Ankara's NATO membership, DW Turkish said.

Despite the halted arms shipments to Turkey, Germany's weapons sales to Ankara have reached their highest level in 14 years.

Berlin sent $277 million worth of weapons to Turkey in the first eight months of 2019, according to information cited by German press agency dpa.