Turkey’s grounds for Afrin operation ‘sufficient,’ Dutch FM says
Zijlstra made the remarks in the Dutch parliament when he was asked about the Turkish Armed Forces’ ongoing “Operation Olive Branch,” which started on Jan. 20 to remove Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from Afrin in northwestern Syria.
Referring to the right of self-defense under international law and Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, Zijlstra said there were “clear attacks” against Turkey, which had given the country “sufficient grounds” to defend itself.
“The YPG is not innocent. The Dutch government has never supported the YPG,” he said.
“There are strong links between the YPG and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK]. The PKK is a terrorist organization, both in the Netherlands and in Europe,” said Zijlstra.
“This is not a Turkish-Kurdish conflict, nor should it be in the Netherlands,” he said.
The foreign minister said the Dutch government had concerns related to the operation launched in Afrin.