CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu says Turkey’s Afrin operation was ‘inevitable’

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu says Turkey’s Afrin operation was ‘inevitable’

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu says Turkey’s Afrin operation was ‘inevitable’

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” in the Syrian province of Afrin was “inevitable,” after Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım informed him about the current state of the operation in a meeting on Jan. 22.

“It was a very productive meeting. Operation Olive Branch was inevitably brought to the country’s agenda. Our wish is the completion of the operation without any significant harm,” Kılıçdaroğlu said after an hour-long meeting with the prime minister who had informed the CHP leader about ongoing operation into Syria’s Afrin.

The Turkish military on Jan. 21 launched a cross-border land operation into Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which Ankara deems a “terrorist group” for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The operation, dubbed “Operation Olive Branch,” is being carried out in conjunction with Turkey’s allies in the Syrian civil war, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and began shortly after the Turkish air force hit YPG targets to prepare for the advance.

“Our soldiers are contributing the territorial integrity of Syria in their duty,” Kılıçdaroğlu said after his meeting with Yıldırım.

CHP Deputy Leader Öztürk Yılmaz also commented on the operation on Jan. 22.

“There is no difference between the government and the opposition on this point. The interests of the country prevail,” Yılmaz said on Jan. 22 in a press conference at parliament.

Yıldırım thanks CHP leader for support

Speaking after Kılıçdaroğlu, Prime Minister Yıldırım said the operation aimed to “destroy terrorist activities” and stressed that Turkey must prioritize its own territorial integrity.

He said there is “harassing fire” in the Turkish border province of Kilis, acknowledging that the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) give full support to the operation.

“There are some weak voices [of opposition to the operation] but there isn’t anything noteworthy. All separatist messages are being investigated,” Yıldırım said, adding that currently “there have been no soldier casualties in the operation.”