We have always relied on our army, which has been fighting in Syria’s Afrin,” the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader said in the southern province of Adana on March 17.
“We have relied on our army to fight in Afrin. At Çanakkale, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had said, ‘I do not command you to attack, I command you to die.’ There were 800 Adana martyrs in Adana. For that reason, we respect them with respect, love and mercy,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said during an event, which was organized to meet the families of the killed soldiers.
“We have a common pain and a common pride. Wherever we live, one of the main factors that unites us is our martyrs,”
Kılıçdaroğlu said that commemorating our fallen soldiers was the common duty of the Turkish people.
“There is currently a heroic battle in Afrin. I am sure all the mothers say their son will return home safely. This is the common desire for all of us. But you are going, you are fighting and you fall as a martyr. It is our common duty to remember all our martyrs, commemorate them with gratitude and mercy and present our gratitude,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to “Operation Olive Branch,” which was started on Jan. 20.
Kılıçdaroğlu also highlighted that there would be no distinction between killed soldiers.
“No distinction should be made between our martyrs. Our martyrs are a common pride for all of us. Our veterans are also equally worthy of praise. Some of our veterans have lost their eyes and some of their limbs and they are fighting for life under difficult conditions,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
He noted that martyrs should not be commemorated for just one day, but should be commemorated every day.
“Martyrs, relatives of martyrs and our veterans have given their lives for the flag and their homeland. Of course, each and every unit must fight for our own country, our own flag,” he said.
On March 18, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement 3,603 YPG militants were “neutralized” in Afrin, while 46 soldiers were killed and 225 were injured.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.