Turkey clings to its goal of eliminating terrorism: Presidential spokesperson
Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has criticized some Western countries for perceiving Turkey’s military operation in Syria as a distraction from the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
In a column titled “Allies should support Turkey against terrorism” for the Daily Sabah newspaper, Kalın said Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” was “in full conformity with the goal of eliminating all terrorist threats from Syria and a step in the right direction to protect Syria’s territorial integrity.”
Kalın pointed out that the southern Turkish border provinces of Hatay and Kilis were subject to over 700 attacks from Afrin over the past few years and the PKK was using the area as a recruitment and training ground.
He said the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the YPG took control of Afrin in the name of fighting ISIL but they used the ISIL threat as a pretext to expand areas they control in Syria to establish an autonomous region and eventually an independent state structure.
The spokesperson recalled concerns of some countries over the size and duration of the operation and warnings to avoid civilian casualties.
“There is no ground for any of these concerns. Turkey’s record in Operation Euphrates Shield is very clear. Turkish forces cleared the areas between Jarablus and al-Bab from Daesh terrorists, avoided civilian casualties and returned the area back to its rightful owners, i.e., local Syrian communities,” Kalın said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
“Just like al-Qaida, Daesh, Boko Haram, the PKK is a terrorist organization and its PYD and YPG Syrian affiliates are no different. The fight against the YPG in Syria and Iraq is not a distraction from the fight against Daesh. On the contrary, it serves the purpose of eliminating all forms of terrorism in the region,” he said.
“Eliminating terrorist networks in Iraq and Syria is also necessary for the people of those countries and to protect their territorial integrity and political unity,” he said.
‘Contradicting statements from US’
“The PKK does not represent Kurds and cannot speak on their behalf. There are millions of Kurds who reject the PKK’s old-fashioned Marxist-Leninist ideology and its terrorist tactics. Furthermore, the PYD and YPG have been oppressing the people of Syria, including Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens in the name of fighting Daesh. Their primary goal is not to fight Daesh but to establish a state structure by force and oppression. The world should wake up to this simple fact,” he added.
“The U.S. administration has said that once the Daesh threat is over, they will no longer support the PYD and YPG. This is what U.S. President Donald Trump told President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in two phone calls on Nov. 24 and Jan. 24. Yet the U.S. military support to the YPG continues, and this raises serious questions about the ultimate goal of this policy,” he said.
“Just as Turkey supports its allies in their fight against terrorism, they should support Turkey in its fight against terrorism, whether it is Daesh, the PKK or the Gülenist Terror Group. This is what a true alliance and friendship requires,” he added.