By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) - Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in northern Syria due to threats from PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist organizations, the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) said Wednesday.
In a statement released across European capitals and in some major cities, the group said the operation complied by relevant UN anti-terror articles and resolutions.
Zafer Sirakaya, the head of the organization, read out the statement in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He said the Bosnian people supported Turkey in its fight against terrorism.
He added that not only Bosnia and Herzegovina, but all societies which accept terrorism as an enemy and malice to humanity, should support Turkey's just struggle.
Turkish ambassador to Sarajevo, Haldun Koc, arrived at the venue with nearly 200 people carrying Turkish flags and said: "This distinguished crowd in Sarajevo shows the spirit of unity and togetherness."
"This operation is performed undoubtedly as a result of actions of PKK, PYD, Daesh and similar terror organizations which are threats towards the public within the region and Republic of Turkey," the statement said.
It added that the latest operation just like the previous Euphrates Shield would eliminate a "terrorist corridor" on Turkey’s southern border and "ultimately put an end to the pressure of the terrorist organizations in the region and restore peace".
The statement explained that the PYD and YPG were the extensions of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU, and that they had "targeted civilians not only outside Turkey but also within Turkey".
"These treacherous organizations in recent years have led to hundreds of casualties and thousands of wounded," it added.
According to the statement, violence by the terror groups has forced 3.5 million people, including 370,000 Kurdish, to leave their homeland and flee to Turkey.
"Turkey's human- and conscience-oriented politics has opened its doors to refugees regardless of race, language or religion," it said, adding that Turkey's operation also aimed to protect NATO's southern border and targeted only the terrorist organizations in the region.
-Civilians not targeted
"Turkey has announced that it does not target with this operation Syria's territorial integrity or the Turkmen, Kurds or Arabs living within the region."
The UETD stressed that the operation was "an important obstacle to prevent a new wave of migration to the European Union".
The organization rejected baseless rumors that civilians were being targeted.
"On the contrary, it is seen that terrorists like PYD in Afrin use civilians by force as human shields."
It said the operation by the Turkish Armed Forces "has been carried out transparently with the necessary information given to its allies and neighboring countries since the beginning".
Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being given to not harm any civilians.