This is the last article I will pen before the June 24 elections. On Sunday, the Turkish electorate will cast ballots for both the parliamentary and presidential elections. Excitement has been building around the nation as it follows the campaigns of the presidential candidates who represent all segments of society.
Set to make history, the upcoming elections have inspired excitement and enthusiasm for democracy nationwide since a new era will commence with the elections. From now on, Turkey will be ruled by a presidential system that separates legislation and execution; expedites decision-making mechanisms; and consolidates stability. It is important to note that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the architect of the new system.
Also noteworthy is the fact that only over the past decade has the peoples' will been reflected on the polls in Turkey. Prior to that, the governments were dominated by military tutelage no matter who won the elections. This paradigm has been eliminated at last. Again, Erdoğan accomplished this. Although Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have been facing criticism from the West lately, policies on reintegration to the West will be improved and the perspective on the EU will be enriched in Turkey as long as Erdoğan and the AK Party are elected – a solid possibility according to many international studies.
Manbij and Turkey's rising power
The Turkish military has entered the outskirts of Manbij in line with an agreement with the U.S. Previously, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that the People's Protection Units (YPG) would lay down arms and withdraw from Manbij. Currently, this announcement is being implemented step by step, and Manbij is being jointly managed by Turkish and American troops.
The patrol activities kicked off in the area with Operation Euphrates Shield were a major blow to the YPG and strengthened Turkey's stance in Syria. In fact, all the developments in this regard are interrelated, each serving the same objective. Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch inflicted heavy blows to the YPG presence in the region and Turkey has reduced the terror threat in the nation considerably. Now, purging Manbij from terror elements is the main goal for territorial integrity of Syria and the security of Turkey.
Purging the region of the YPG is of vital importance for the Arab, Turkmens, Yazidi and Kurdish populations that do not support the Democratic Union Party (PYD), an organization that tyrannizes anyone not siding with them in Syria. The people living in the region are forced to migrate as their houses and lands are forcibly taken.
Data gathered in the field indicates that around 350,000 people have left their houses, most of whom fled to Turkey. Those who could not flee were forcibly recruited by the YPG while their families were blackmailed.Turkey's objective is to free Manbij from terror, enable the locals to safely return to their homes and achieve stability in the region. The decision to launch this crucial operation was taken following Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu's Washington visit. For 45 days, intelligence units will conduct surveillance in the region; then the formation of a local government is being projected. In Manbij, 90 percent of the overall population is comprised of Arabs. Despite that, the YPG has seized control of the region through brutal force. However, Turkey's recent operation launched jointly with the U.S. will bring a great deal of relief to the town.
The latest steps and months of counterterror activities demonstrate the progress Turkey has made in its fight against the PKK and the YPG. Remember that the West had tried to portray the YPG and PYD as "secular warriors heroically fighting against Daesh" only eight months ago. Turkey has faced constant obstacles and opposition in its plight to address its growing security concerns posed by the PKK, a threat that had continued to escalate. The current situation has been achieved thanks to Turkey's effective diplomacy, active foreign policy and anti-terror operations that allowed no room for concessions. It is essential to maintain this stance for the security of Turkey and the region.
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