Turkey’s military offensive in Syria threatens to destabilize the region and boost ISIS, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call Sunday, Politico reports.
“The chancellor spoke in favor of an immediate end to the military operation,” said Ulrike Demmer, a spokesperson for Merkel, adding that the Turkish leader had requested the call.
The call came after Berlin moved to suspend some arms exports to Turkey on Saturday after Ankara launched an offensive against Kurdish militias in northern Syria last week following U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of troops from the region.
Merkel also warned Erdogan that, despite Turkish security interests along the land border, the offensive would likely displace large sections of the population in northern Syria, Demmer said.
EU foreign ministers are meeting early this week ahead of a summit of heads of state, with both sessions set to address the situation in Syria.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Bild am Sonntag that Berlin has moved to restrict arms sales to Turkey since 2016. The government in Berlin also recently extended an arms export ban to Saudi Arabia.