Norway suspends arms sales to fellow NATO member Turkey over Syria invasion in largely symbolic gesture

A Norwegian soldier during NATO Saber Strike exercises (file photo) / Free

Protesting the incursion of Turkish forces into northern Syria, Norway has suspended all new deliveries of military hardware to Turkey, a fellow member of NATO. This is the first such action by an alliance country.

“As the situation is unclear and changing rapidly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – as a precautionary measure – will not process new applications for export licenses for military and multi-use military products to Turkey for the time being,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in a statement. “We are now also reviewing all valid licenses for military and multi-use military export licenses in Turkey.”

The Turkish ambassador was informed of the decision on Thursday.

It is unclear what practical consequence the gesture will have for Ankara. Norway is mostly an exporter of ammunition, and its sales to Turkey amounted to less than $6 million in 2018, according to available government data.

Turkey sent troops into Syria on Wednesday in what it dubbed ‘Operation Peace Spring,’ seeking to establish a 20-mile perimeter along the border and push back Kurdish militias it has designated as terrorists.

Reacting to European condemnation of the move, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants” to the EU if the bloc continues to describe the operation as an invasion.

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