Turkey slams EU’s top diplomat over Afrin remarks
Turkey’s EU Minister Ömer Çelik has slammed top EU diplomat Federica Mogherini’s voicing of concerns about the Turkish army’s ongoing operation into Syria’s Afrin district against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), saying Turkey’s “sole objective is to fight against terrorism and to protect its borders.”
“The EU has been pursuing a wrong policy toward Turkey’s fight against terrorism from the very start. Instead of pledging support, they have only been criticizing,” Çelik said in a written message of March 19, reacting against EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Mogherini’s earlier statement in Brussels.
“I am worried about this,” she told reporters on Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch,” saying international efforts in Syria should be “aimed at de-escalating military activities and not escalating them.”
Mogherini urged Turkey, Russia and Iran to guarantee that conflict “de-escalation zones” are established as promised in order to “guarantee that this is what happens on the ground.”
Her comments came a day after the Turkish army, along with Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, took control of Afrin following a two-month military incursion.
“They tell us to fight only against terror organizations listed on the U.N.’s terror list. Are we going to wait for years so that terror organizations that launch rockets on our soil be listed on the U.N. list?” Çelik said.
He said that although the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “changed its name” in Syria, this would not change the fact that the YPG and the PKK are “the same thing in the eyes of Turkey.”
In reference to a recent European Parliament resolution that referred to the YPG as “Kurdish forces,” Çelik said efforts to depict a terror organization as the representative of all Kurds are “inhumane.”
“We do not producing new clashes. We are fighting against the establishment of a terror corridor. We are not just watching events like others, we have save the oppressed from the hands of terror organizations,” he added.