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OPINION

‘Operation Peace Spring’ Is Against Terrorists

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, time and again, said we condemn terrorism where ever it may come from. And that, there may be no ‘Your terrorist’ or ‘my terrorist.’ Terrorism is, terrorism, thus should be fought wherever it may be.

The following thus, is why Turkey has launched ‘Operation Peace Spring’ into Syria. The main objective of this operation will be to ensure Turkey’s border security, neutralise terrorists in the region and save Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of these terrorists.

We are a committed member of the Global Coalition against DEASH. Turkey is the only country to put a chest-to-chest combat against DEASH with boots on the ground. We have neutralised more than 4.000 DEASH terrorists on our own.

DEASH is no stranger to Nigeria. The Boko Haram Faction, the so called “ISWAP (Islamic State West African Province) is known to declare it’s allegiance to DEASH.

Turkey has always been at the forefront of the efforts to combat DEASH. We will remain so. Turkey is focused and determined to continue the fight against DEASH, and is also a country that is fully dedicated to fighting these cowardly terrorists. DEASH is an enemy of Turkey and we will not stop fighting them until they are completely eradicated.

The future of detained DEASH terrorists is of paramount importance to Turkey. The only sustainable solution is repatriation of all foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin.

The threat of terrorism originating from Syria and targeting our borders is not limited to DEASH.

Our foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, wrote in the New York Times and I quote: “…. The P.Y.D./Y.P.G. may present itself to the world as the group that fought DAESH, but it also smuggles explosives to the P.K.K. by digging tunnels into Turkish soil. We have found its members ushering DAESH prisoners toward Turkey. And in November 2017, the BBC reported on a secret deal under which the Syrian Democratic Forces arranged transport and allowed hundreds of DAESH terrorists to escape during the coalition operation to liberate the city of Raqqa.

We had to act. Several voices expressed concerns about the safety of the Kurdish population in Syria. I want to repeat and emphasise that Turkey’s fight is not against the Kurds. Our fight is against the terrorists. Any description of the situation as “Turks against Kurds” is malicious and false. Kurds are not our enemies…”

During the last two years, especially from the east of River Euphrates, we have been exposed to more than hundred cases of attacks or hostile acts by PYD/YPG, the Syrian offshoot of PKK which is designated as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and NATO.

Our expectations and sensitivities regarding the PYD/YPG threat were repeatedly shared with our Allies, especially the United States. And our talks with the United States on the establishment of a safe zone has remained inconclusive.

Promises made by the United States have not been fulfilled. PYD/YPG fortifications were not destroyed. PYD/YPG even built new ones. They did not withdraw. Their heavy weapons were not taken back.

We could no longer tolerate the presence of terrorists at our borders. We were compelled to take our destiny into our hands. And we will continue the operation until all terrorists have been wiped out of the region and our border security has been ensured.

The operation also aims to facilitate safe and voluntary returns of displaced Syrians. A safe zone free from terror will encourage these Syrians, including Syrian Kurds taking refuge in Turkey, to voluntarily return to their homes.

Turkey has no plans to modify the demographic structure in the operation area. It is the other way around. Our operation will give a chance to at least one million displaced Syrians, including Kurds, Arabs, Christians alike, to return to their ancestors’ lands after having been subject to ethnic cleansing by PYD/YPG.

Protection of civilians is our top priority. Our vision is recognised and supported by the Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian Interim Government, as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people, along with the tribal representatives of Kurdish and Christian leaders across the region.

Ulueren is the ambassador of Turkey to Nigeria

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