Perception campaigns will not deter Turkey

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In 2016, Turkey was under attack by smear campaigns while it was conducting Operation Euphrates Shield against Daesh, and it has now again become a target with its Afrin offensive

For years Turkey has been the target of waves of perception and smear campaigns, and although none of them have been successful, our adversaries simply do not give up.It is sad that most of these campaigns have originated from countries that we used to regard as our trusted friends and allies led by the United States.

Much to our regret, even official U.S. spokesmen have been used in these campaigns.

They have done everything to dissuade Turkey from entering the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin, which was the hub of PKK terrorist activity. The Americans claimed a Turkish offensive against Afrin would jeopardize the fight against Daesh. They said that PKK-linked militants that were supposedly fighting Daesh in eastern Syria would shift their forces to Afrin to save the PKK.

Yet they forgot to mention that the fight against Daesh is over and there are tiny pockets of resistance that any force could easily deal with. What, in fact, they were doing was trying to keep the PKK-led militants intact so that they could eventually be used by Washington against the Iranian presence in Syria.

When they realized they could not dissuade Turkey from entering Afrin, the PKK and its sympathizers orchestrated a smear campaign claiming that the Turkish forces and their Free Syrian Army allies were killing civilians in Afrin. Some American official spokesmen even joined this chorus.

But that was proven wrong as Turkey was extremely transparent in its operations in Afrin. On the contrary, Turkey proved that the PKK had little or no regard for civilians in Afrin when it displayed how the PKK had used four elderly people as human booby traps against Turkish soldiers.

These were one of the many examples on how cruel the PKK can be against local people not only in Afrin but also in Syria.

The PKK circulated photos of civilians allegedly being bombed in the Afrin region – small children being killed. It was quickly proven that the photos were taken from the atrocities committed by Assad forces in various parts of Syria.

The perception and smear campaigns never seem to end. These days, the PKK and its sympathizers, even in Turkey, are trying to spread rumors that the Turkish army is actually hiding its casualty figures in Afrin. Some left-wing groups in Turkey who are against the government are also helping the PKK circulate these rumors among Turks.

What they do not realize is that the Turkish army is extremely transparent in its reporting of its casualties. When soldiers are martyred the military immediately announces the news and sets the record straight. They do not hide anything and disclose everything, even when we lose 12 soldiers in one clash. If anyone in this day and age tried to hide any figures they would know that at least the families of the casualties would raise hell. No one would ever dare toy around with the statistics of martyrs.Turkey displayed the same transparency during Operation Euphrates Shield when it consistently informed the public about our casualties. We had 71 martyrs then. Did anyone challenge this figure? No one did, as there was nothing to challenge. The same is valid for the operation in Afrin.

So the smear campaigns continue. Let's see what they are going to come up with after this.

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