The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the recently formed İYİ (Good) Party have all lent full support to the military operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants in Syria’s Afrin province.
“We are totally confident about our brave army and give full support to the operation. What we care about is the security of our borders. No countries would want a terrorist organization on their border,” CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu told Hürriyet on Jan. 20.
He also said it was important that Turkey used the Syrian air space as a result of diplomatic efforts.
CHP Vice Chairman and spokesman Bülent Tezcan similarly voiced the party’s support for the operation on Jan. 21 during a press conference organized at the party headquarters in Ankara.
“Our glorious army has initiated an important operation. Our support is full. We stand behind this operation as the nation and will continue to do so,” Tezcan said.
“The most important thing to keep in mind at the end of this process is that Syria should have territorial integrity. A strategic political solution on Syria should be focused on. We should stand behind the sovereignty of Syria and territorial integrity,” he added.
“It is our biggest wish that the Olive Branch Operation, which was launched by our glorious army, achieves its target in the shortest time possible and our soldiers come back home without harm,” Tezcan had written in an earlier message posted on Twitter on Jan. 21.
The MHP has also voiced support for the Afrin operation. “There is no other way to clear our borders from terror,” MHP leader Bahçeli told reporters on Jan. 21 at a news conference in Ankara’s Kızılcahamam district, describing the operation as a “national cause.”
“The operational partner of the United States should be rooted out. The PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], the PYD [Kurdish Democratic Union Party], and the YPG, which are disguised as the Syrian Democratic Forces should be cleared from our borders,” Bahçeli said.
İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener also voiced support for the operation. “Our full prayers are with our glorious army and heroic soldiers in the Afrin operation. May God ensure that this operation is completed without any loss of lives and may our soldiers be full of power and strength. May God protect them,” Akşener tweeted late on Jan. 20.
However, Serpil Kemalbay, the co-chair of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), slammed the operation, describing it as the “start of an invasion” of Afrin.
Kemalbay also called on the public to “show their democratic reactions” against the operation during a press conference at the party headquarters in Ankara on Jan. 20.
Erdoğan slams HDP
In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blasted the HDP for “calling people to the streets.”
“Just as we are rooting those in the mountains out of their caves, we will not let you take to the streets,” Erdoğan said in a speech in the western province of Bursa on Jan. 21.
“They are holding a congress in [the southeastern province of] Diyarbakır. But they have not found anybody to join them,” he added.
“You are being followed. Wherever you take to the streets, our security forces will be at your throat. You can’t do whatever you want. With a local and national approach we are conducting an operation against all those who are attacking our country’s borders, but you will hit us from within? Is that so? Just as we rooted out those in the mountains from their caves; we will never leave these streets to your own discretion,” Erdoğan said.
Meanwhile, the country’s leading business association, the Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD), also voiced full support for the military operation.
“Our hearts are with the Turkish Armed Forces in our rightful fight against terror elements,” association head Erol Bilecik said in a written statement on Jan. 21.