Afrin operation in 10 Questions - AYDIN ÜNAL

Afrin operation in 10 Questions

1. Why is Turkey conducting an operation in Afrin?

A terror state that is controlled by terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s Syrian offshoot, the PYD, under the direction of the U.S., is trying to be established in the north of Syria. The long term plan for this is to extend this terror zone to Qandil from İskenderun. PKK/PYD controls and wishes to expand two regions called Afrin and Kobani thanks to the tolerance of the Assad regime and the U.S.’s training and weapon support. Turkey has been saying since the beginning that they will not allow such a formation. Hence, the Afrin operation was launched to foil this project.   

2. Is Afrin a threat for Turkey?

The terror zone that is planned to be established in the north of Syria constitutes an open threat for Turkey. PKK, the terrorist organization which we have been fighting for 40 years, causing the death of 50,000 people, is trying to form a state in Syria with U.S. backing. If this happens, Turkey’s Syria border will be under the control of PKK. In the long term, this establishment will try to reach the Mediterranean from İskenderun and will claim territory from the East/Southeast regions of Turkey. This establishment in northern Syria constitutes an open threat for Turkey’s present and future. 

3. Are PKK and PYD not different organizations? Is PYD not fighting Daesh?   

PYD is the Syrian branch of PKK, and they are not trying to hide this fact. The symbols, slogans and the organization structure PYD uses is exactly same as PKK. Huge posters of Öcalan are hanged in PYD-controlled zones and Öcalan is recognized as their leader. PYD is managed from Qandil, and senior directors of PKK are often seen in Syria. The claim that PYD is fighting against Daesh is just an excuse to justify terror.

PYD was also the one who evacuated Daesh terrorists from Syria with buses.  

4. Is PYD conducting terror attacks against Turkey?

Two of our soldiers fell martyr after the attack of PYD/PKK targeting Hatay and Kilis from Afrin. In the 14 attacks that were conducted by infiltrating Turkey from Afrin and Kobani, 286 people lost their lives. In the attacks between 2015 and 2017, 772 soldiers and policemen and 299 civilians died. In these attacks, PKK received weapons and terrorist support from the Kobani region.

5. Is Turkey targeting Kurds with the Afrin operation?

Never. On the contrary, Turkey is conducting Operation Olive Branch in Afrin for the Kurds, not against them. PKK/PYD is changing the demographic structure in the north of Syria. They are conducting ethnic cleansing against Turkmens and Arabs. They are oppressing all Kurdish groups, those opposing or those who have different views, with fascist methods. In October 2011, Meşal Temo, leader of the Future Party, which oppose the PKK/PYD, was killed. Qamishli tribe leader Abdullah Bedro’s three sons and Halep head of the Syrian Kurds Democratic Union Party Şerzad Hac Reşid were assassinated. There is only PKK/PYD in Syria, whereas there were 12 Kurdish groups in Syria before the war. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds were forced to migrate from the regions controlled by PKK/PYD due to oppression. Three hundred and fifty thousand Syrian Kurds took refuge in Turkey and they still live here.

6. Are civilians being targeted in the Afrin operation?

This the terrorist organization’s black propaganda. They are trying to create this perception by sharing unrelated images in social media. Also, PKK/PYD terrorists are trying to manipulate the world by donning civilian clothing. We also hear the news that the terrorist organization is using civilians in Afrin as human shields. Despite all these, the Turkish Armed Forces are conducting the operation with a great sensitivity.

7. How long will the Operation Olive Branch last?

It will last until Afrin is completely cleared of terror.

8. What comes after Afrin?

Manbij is after Afrin. The U.S. promised that PKK/PYD, which occupied Manbij in western Euphrates, will withdraw but did not keep their promise. Turkey will clear Manbij of terror as well. And the next step will be the Kobani region.  

9. How is the world reacting to Operation Olive Branch?

The U.S. is confused and constantly making different statements. It is surprised at Turkey’s determination. Russia has withdrawn their forces from Afrin and approaches the issue with composure by calling Turkey to use the same approach. The EU is making statements against terrorism, but it is quite meagre. Iran is supporting the operation. No matter what anyone says, Turkey is displaying a determined stance

10. How are the reactions to the Afrin operation in Turkey?

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is fully supporting the operation. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is opposing the operation as the political extension of PKK but they are not quite heard due to the issues within the party. HDP is also trying to cause an uprising as in the Kobani incidents, but their base is not responding to their calls. After the election of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as the Chairman of the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP), prioritizing the interests of the U.S. over Turkey’s, and supporting terrorist organizations like the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and PKK which are nourished by the U.S., CHP is also having difficult days as well. Kılıçdaroğlu was booed by the audience in Germany after he said “May God help our soldiers.” It was later revealed that Canan Kaftancıoğlu, who was appointed as the Istanbul Provincial Chairman of CHP, openly supported HDP, PKK and FETÖ. However, she has not resigned and wasn’t discharged. CHP seems to support the operation for now, but the public knows very well their real attitude.

The Afrin operation is not the personal issue of the Justice and Development (AK) Party or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Afrin operation is an issue of Turkey’s perpetuity. The Turkish public knows and understands this, and 81 million people fully support the operation and are praying for our soldiers

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