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European Powers Decry Turkish Offensive against Syrian Kurds

In a joint statement issued on Saturday by its Defense and Foreign ministries, France said it was putting a hold on all weapons sales to Turkey with “immediate effect” in reaction to Ankara’s widening operation against Kurds in Syria. It added that European Union foreign ministers would gather on Monday in Brussels to formulate a coordinated stance. Separately on Saturday, Germany said it was doing the same. In London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone on Saturday evening, urging him to end the fighting and begin a dialogue. Also on Saturday, Kurds held protest marches in cities throughout Europe. During one of the rallies, a speaker referred to the Turkish actions in Syria as “genocide.” Other demonstrators burned posters with the likeness of Erdogan. Meanwhile, the Arab League, through Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, deemed Turkey’s actions the “invasion of an Arab state’s land and an aggression on its sovereignty,” adding that the organization was considering economic sanctions against Ankara.