Today's Afrin incursion compulsory for tomorrow's security

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
ISTANBUL
Published

All the reports, commentaries and analyses about Turkey's incursion into northern Syria to eliminate the presence of PKK affiliates in Afrin can be summarized as Turkey wanting stability in the region. Any act or actor that promotes chaos will face the anger of Ankara and the Turkish people. It is that simple.

The anger directed at the U.S. has an equally simple reason. Until Operation Olive Branch was launched over the weekend, U.S. policymakers from both former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump's administrations ignored Ankara's concerns over U.S. weapons flooding to the YPG, the Syrian affiliate of the PKK. The U.S. and EU recognize the PKK as a terrorist group.

The cost of the U.S. decision to arm and train the YPG will be huge for Turkey, Europe and even the U.S. A scorpion does not discriminate. Any attempt to stir trouble in an already crisis-prone region should be resisted.

The PKK and its various appendages in Syria, Iraq and Iran constitute a threat to regional peace and stability and harm international trade and global security.

And no one should be under the misconception that today's support for a terrorist group will not transform into a free for all tomorrow. This is a recipe for disaster and the U.S., and those who govern it should know better.

It took Turkey, a country that has stood by the U.S. for more than half a century, to move into Syria and launch a military operation for the U.S. to turn and listen. Despite repeated warnings, U.S. officials simply ignored Ankara's opposition to American help for a group that clearly posed a clear and immediate danger to Turkey's security. This shows how decrepit the U.S. decision-making mechanism has become and how warped the American sense of right and wrong currently is.

As of yesterday afternoon, Turkey lost two soldiers in Operation Olive Branch to weapons most probably provided to terrorists by its supposed ally. Tell that to the mothers and fathers of these fallen soldiers.

Turkey's objective is to eliminate the YPG in Afrin. The most damage done by the terrorist group is, without doubt, to Kurds themselves. The PKK persecutes critics and forces civilians to do its bidding in Turkey, and its affiliates do the same in Syria and Iraq. This is why the main beneficiary of the Afrin operation will be Syrian Kurds.

Turkey is also the main supporter of Syria's territorial integrity. A divided Syria, just like Iraq, will export instability and violence. Turkey will stand against any threat to the territorial integrity of countries in the region.

While the government will staunchly oppose any attempt to destabilize Syria, it will be even more forceful against efforts to destabilize Turkey. What is happening in Afrin is the most obvious example.

And let there be no doubt that apart from a few fringe groups, everyone from religious and ethnic minorities to the largest business groups, nongovernmental organizations and opposition parties is behind the military that is advancing against terrorist concentrations in and around Afrin, well aware that today's incursion is compulsory for tomorrow's security.

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