Dutch lawmakers seek EU arms embargo on Turkey

Lawmakers from three of the Netherlands’ four coalition parties called on the foreign minister to pressure Europe into imposing an arms embargo on Turkey over its involvement in the recent fighting that erupted over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, DutchNews.nl reported on Wednesday. 

The motion will be discussed during a budget debate by the Foreign Ministry later on Wednesday, DutchNews.nl said.

"If Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan encourages military conflict rather than stability, we have to be clear: no more weapons should be sent to Turkey as long as this continues," said Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, a lawmaker from the social-liberal Democrats 66 party, according to the news website.

The six weeks of fighting between Armenian separatists and the Azeri military is the latest flare-up centred around Nagorno-Karabakh and has reportedly killed thousands of people. The fighting has threatened to expand beyond the breakaway state, which is located within Azerbaijan’s borders but controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Turkey has thrown its firm support behind Azerbaijan, saying it is ready to do whatever is necessary to eject Armenian forces from the region. It has been accused by Russia, France, Iran and Armenia of shipping war-hardened Syrian mercenaries to the South Caucasus to back the Azeri military.

The Dutch lawmakers are also concerned that Turkey could use European-produced weapons in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, DutchNews.nl said. 

France, another European Union member-state, is also seeking punitive measures against Turkey in response to Erdoğan’s aggressive rhetoric towards French President Emmanuel Macron and to Turkish policy in the eastern Mediterranean.

French radio broadcaster Europe 1 reported on its website on Monday that Paris will propose to the European Council to abolish the EU customs union with Turkey.