EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik has said that the ongoing Operation Olive Branch ensures the safety of Europe and that the security of the continent depends on Turkey's security.
Speaking at the 37th meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee yesterday, Çelik said that the committee meeting in Adana focused on the importance of the recent operation that Turkey launched against the PKK terrorist organization-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) and migration problems. In his remarks, Çelik stressed the aim of the Afrin operation is to secure the borders of Europe as well as Turkey's.
"Operation Olive Branch launched in Afrin, which is conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces, is ensuring the safety of Republic of Turkey as well as that of Europe. If we don't conduct this fight, Daesh and other terrorists will pass into Europe by exploiting the security vacuum situation," he said.
Çelik also touched on the consequences of the former security vacuums on borders. "If a buffer zone had been established in the past, neither Daesh nor the refugee crisis would be a problem today," he asserted.
Furthermore, the EU minister stressed that like Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch will also create safe zones for refugees to return to their homes and decrease the pressure on host countries.
"When Operation Olive Branch succeeds, it will enable nearly 500,000 Syrians to return to their land. This will decrease the pressure of migration on Turkey and Europe. The meaning of this is that migration will stop and the risk of the resurgence of terrorism in the area will vanish," he said. Çelik also said that Turkey and Europe have achieved great success with mutual cooperation so far. "It has been seen after the management of the migration issue that if Turkey and Europe work together, they have the power to create solutions to and capacity for the greatest problems of the world," he said.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to remove YPG from Afrin in northwestern Syria.