The Afrin operation should not be exploited to make gains in domestic politics and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will not let President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan turn the operation into a “one-man show,” CHP Deputy Group Chair Engin Altay said.
“The Afrin operation cannot represent the will of a single political party. This is unethical. If the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) uses the operation for domestic purposes, its reputation in the eyes of the people will suffer,” Altay said in press conference at parliament on Jan. 23.
“The government’s cooperation with opposition parties is crucial for the success of the operation. Afrin is a national matter, it concerns 80 million citizens. We will not let Erdoğan turn this operation into a one-man show,” Altay added.
Altay put forward three conditions to lend support to the government for the operation.
“Inform the main opposition party at every stage of the operation, be transparent and let the opposition know about your plans. This is the government’s job and duty,” he said, adding that the government should not take decisions alone that could put soldiers’ lives at risk.
“This is not a call for withdrawal. On the contrary, Turkey should take the necessary military action against all kind of threats but there should not be any civilian casualties,” Altay added.
Altay also claimed that if Erdoğan had made the right decisions back in March 2011 when the Syria crisis first erupted, playing a constructive role to resolve the conflict, the bloodbath just across Turkey’s border would not have happened.
“The Afrin operation should not fan tensions between the Turks and Kurds. Turkey should address the concerns of the countries in the region,” he added.
Altay also called on the government to take steps simultaneously to solve the Kurdish question.
Fight terror groups indiscriminately
“Turkey faces a serious terror threat. We always call on the government to fight terror groups indiscriminately. It is not right to turn a blind eye on certain groups but launch operations against others. All these groups should be treated equally,” Altay said.
“How have those Free Syrian Army [FSA] units been formed? The FSA is a blend of several groups including Al-Qaida affiliated groups,” he claimed.
Government to inform parliament next week
The government is set to inform lawmakers at the Turkish parliament next week about the ongoing military operation in northwestern Syria, a senior official from Turkey’s ruling party said on Jan. 23.
“On Tuesday, when parliament is opened, a cabinet minister on behalf of the government will brief our parliament on ‘Operation Olive Branch,’” AKP Parliamentary Group Chairman Bülent Turan told reporters in parliament.