The first week of Operation Peace Spring has concluded. Heavy fighting continues. The operation aims to remove the People's Protection Units (YPG), which is the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, a terrorist group fighting Turkey for almost 40 years.
The world does not want to acknowledge this legitimate fight of Turkey against the PKK, which is recognized by the U.S. and EU as a terrorist group.
Just looking at how the YPG has reacted since the operation proves them to be terrorists - they are attacking civilians in Turkey, launching missles and targeting villages.
Turkey wants to fight this terrorist organization and remove these forces from the border area and then create a safe zone where millions of Syrian refugees can return to.
In an opinion piece published by The Wall Street Journal, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that in the absence of an alternative plan to deal with the refugee crisis in the Middle East, the international community should either join Turkey's efforts to end the humanitarian crisis and address the violence and instability that are the root causes of irregular migration in the region or begin admitting refugees.
Since the Syrian war started Turkey has spent $40 billion on 3.6 million Syrian refugees, which is by far the highest number compared to all the other countries.
President Erdoğan also wrote in his opinion piece that Operation Peace Spring was launched along the same lines to clear northern Syria of terrorist elements that are "preventing Syrian refugees including 300,000 Kurds from returning home."
It should be stressed very clearly that this operation does not target Kurdish civilians in any way. Turkey does not have any problem with the Kurds. The Kurds are a major part of the country and Erdoğan is the leader who abolished the ban on the Kurdish language on state television, who enabled the opening of Kurdish departments at universities and made Kurdish political campaigns legal for Kurdish politicians.
We should differentiate the PKK from the Kurds. The PKK is a terrorist group that has harmed many Kurds. It is the PKK that is attacking civilians. Any state has the right to fight terror groups that aim to harm the country.
Hence, Operation Peace Spring is a struggle against terror. It aims to prevent the creation of a PKK quasi state and clear the area for Syrian refugees. That is why President Erdoğan said today that if YPG forces took their artillery and weapons back, Turkey can stop the struggle today. This call is clear evidence that Turkey does not seek to conquer a land outside of its borders or aim to kill civilians. The world should acknowledge this legitimate struggle and should not leave Turkey alone in this fight against terror.