On Sunday, we returned with a great deal of backstage information from the Oğulpınar Border Patrol ceremony that we have attended with President Erdoğan. Now it is time for disclosure…
I asked Turkish 2nd Army Commander Lieutenant General İsmail Metin Temel, who was directing the Afrin operation, “How did the job get done so quickly?”
He said, “We noticed the situation three or four days before Afrin was taken under control. Once we saw that the party buildings were stripped bare and that they were even unable to collect the dead bodies, we knew that they had fled.”
When General Metin said this, I examined my memory and remembered President Erdoğan’s statement that he made on March 14:
“I hope Afrin will completely fall by evening.”
This was what Erdoğan said that day, and since nothing happened until the evening apparently, we have tried to figure out what Erdoğan might have meant with that sentence.
Now, together with Lieutenant General Metin Temel’s words things became clear.
We were informed that the Turkish army entered Afrin on March 18. However, it was determined by March 14 that PKK/YPG terrorists fled the city.
Afterwards, this crucial information was fired off to Ankara and that was why Erdoğan made such an assertive statement.
Land registry and civil buildings were primarily liberated
“After I received the news, I immediately ordered security to be provided for the land registry offices and civil registry buildings,” said General Temel.
At this point, I have to say that this is not just an ordinary order.
If you ask why, land and civil registry buildings are the identity card of a city.
We clearly know from recent history in Iraq and Syria that when those who intend to change the demographic structure of a city they enter, they firstly set the land and civil registry offices on fire. At this stage, from General Temel’s statement, we can see that the aim of Afrin operation is not an occupation but rather a fight against terrorism.
This is because the understanding of seeing land and civil registry offices as the ‘first places to be saved in case of a fire’ is in accordance with the declaration of the will that says: “We want to protect the identity of this city.”
“No giving up on the S-400 deal/ Perhaps both the Patriot and S-400s will be used”
In the Oğulpınar meeting, I had a chance to have a chat with a force commander as well.
The force commander I talked to was attributing the success of the Afrin operation to “flawless coordination.”
He explained that when he said coordination, what he meant was not limited to the collaboration between air and land forces, it was rather about a highly motivated work sharing among all of the public institutions and that this was the key factor behind the success of the operation.
The second topic of the talk was the efforts that Turkey was carrying out regarding its air defense system.
The idea of bringing the S400 air defense system to Turkey as quickly as possible and not withdrawing because of U.S. pressure has been adopted not only by the governing power but also by the Turkish army. We can understand this from the force commander’s following statement:
“We can get both of them. We can deploy one to one region, the other to another region depending on the need.”
Under the circumstances, we can think that Ankara’s approach makes it easier to understand the real intention of the U.S. as it pressures Turkey to pull out of the S-400 agreement.
This move is equivalent to saying “OK, if what you want is to provide us with an air defense system, then we are in” to Washington.
Then, if the main point is the decrease in “military dependence” of Turkey on the US, which I think is the case; this means that it becomes clearer that Washington is not acting in good faith.
If the real issue here, is Turkey’s military dependence on the U.S. decreasing, as I think it is, then the fact that Washington is not acting sincerely becomes clear.
We can ask such a question too:
If you are opposing this so much, then was it a conscious choice to leave Turkey “bare” in terms of air defense for decades?
Then, with this political decision, was the primary objective “forcing Turkey’s hand and maintaining the dependent military relationship?”
As you see, there is a lot to ask.
I have asked the same question of whether it was ever possible to give up the Russian missile deal because of U.S. pressure to National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli in Oğulpınar.
“It’s not possible. The agreements have already been signed. There is no turning back,” he said.