Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring will prevent the YPG from forming a terrorist state within Syrian territory, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, assuring the world on the continued fight against ISIL.
“The objective of our operation is to avoid the establishment of a terror state in the south. That’s what we are working for,” Erdoğan told at a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Oct. 10, a day after the start of the cross-border operation.
Erdoğan sought to respond to criticism and strong statements against the Turkish move by prominent European and NATO countries as well as some leading Arab nations.
“Just like other operations conducted by Turkey, the objective of the Peace Spring is to contribute to the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria. It’s quite obvious that one can talk about the territorial integrity and political unity of this country while one-fourth of its territories are under the occupation of the PKK/YPG,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey recognizes the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, and therefore as terrorists.
Turkey has no problem with the Kurds in Syria but with the terror organizations like the PKK, YPG and ISIL, Erdoğan said, underlining that Turkey still hosts around 300,000 Syrian Kurds who have fled the violence of the YPG and the Syrian regime.
“Let’s first see this. They are still in our country. Why don’t we talk about it? America does not see this, nor does the EU. To whom will we explain all these? Then we should tell this to our own people. There is a political party at the parliament which takes support from a terror organization. They will never see but we will let them see one way or another,” Erdoğan said, referring to the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
In reference to the HDP, Erdoğan said: “You cannot describe our operation as an invasion. You cannot depict our army as an invading force.”
The operation aims at restoring order and stability along the Turkish-Syrian border from the Manbij area to the Iraqi border as a safe zone where Syrians will be able to be resettled, Erdoğan said, repeating his calls on EU countries to support the plan.
109 terrorists neutralized in Operation Peace Spring
Some 109 terrorists have been neutralized since Operation Peace Spring kicked off Erdoğan said.
“From the hour the operation started, 109 terrorists have been killed. The terrorist organization and its partisans attempted to spread a lot of fake news. Our operation is ongoing,” he said.
Apart from the neutralized 109 terrorists, some have been injured or surrendered, Erdoğan conveyed.
“We have also taken necessary precautions against smear campaigns,” he said.
Erdoğan was referring to the recent legal action taken against 78 people on Oct. 9, for inciting hatred through a smear campaign on social media against the newly launched operation into the east of Euphrates.
“Those who do not have the heart to face our soldiers showed their true colors by attacking civilians at first chance. You are the ones killing children and attacking women,” he said.
“We are a nation who will not raise its hands against the vulnerable, the women or children,” he added.
Turkey is doing the operation for the “peace of our Syrian and Kurdish brothers and sisters,” according to the president.
“We will do whatever we did in our operations before. Meaning, we will bring peace and security to the places we go,” he added.
Strong words to the EU
Erdoğan fired back on almost all countries and international organizations that have denounced the Turkish operation and used very harsh language against the EU which has said it won’t sponsor the building of a refugee settlement in the safe zone as a result of a unilateral Turkish operation.
“Hey, European Union! Pull yourself together. I repeat it: If you try to describe our operation as an invasion, we will do what’s easy for us: we will open the doors and send 3.6 million refugees to you,” he said.
Turkey will walk on its path in full confidence regardless of what the EU says, Erdoğan said, recalling that the EU’s threats to cut the flow of 3 billion euros to Turkey as part of a migrant deal will not change the decisions made in Ankara.
“You have not given anything to us for our efforts (to host refugees). It was us who spent $40 billion. We’ll continue our path by spending the same amount of money, but we will then open the doors.”
NATO had to protect us
As a member of the NATO, Turkey has not received adequate help from the alliance despite the fact that Article 5 is valid for all members whose borders are under threat by terror organizations.
“You cannot remain silent when terror organizations attack Turkey,” he stated, on the eve of the visit by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to Turkey.
Fight against ISIL to continue
President Erdoğan has responded to concerns that the fight against the ISIL would be undermined because of the operation.
“Which of these countries that criticize us fought against the DAESH like us? They just did export the DAESH to Syria. DAESH members came from France, Germany, and the Netherlands. We had deported 5,500 DAESH members to the countries where they came from,” he explained, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Turkey will continue its efforts to eradicate ISIL within the area where the operation will be held, Erdoğan assured the international community. “We would never see the DAESH becoming trouble for the world, for Europe or for our country.”
Saudi Arabia: Look at the mirror
Erdoğan was also furious with officials from Saudi Arabia and Egypt over their condemnation of the operation.
“Saudi Arabia should better look in the mirror. Who is responsible for today’s conditions in Yemen? Weren’t tens of thousands of people killed? Hey, Saudi Arabia, you should first pay the price of it,” he said.
He also denounced a statement issued by Egypt along with South Cyprus and Greece. “Egypt, just you wait. You have no right to speak!” he said.
Slamming Egypt for killing democracy through a coup in 2013 that ousted the country’s first democratically-elected President Mohammed Morsi, Erdoğan accused President Abdul Fettah al-Sisi of the death of Morsi in a courtroom earlier this year.
“You did not even allow his family to bury him. You are such a murderer,” he added.
Hurriyet Daily News