By Ruslan Rehimov
BAKU, Azerbaijan (AA) - The business world should stand up to campaigns to smear Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria, said a top Turkish business leader on Tuesday.
Turkey's chief aim in Operation Peace Spring is to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria to secure Turkey’s borders, said Nail Olpak, the head of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK).
"As businesspeople, we should tirelessly explain these facts everywhere in the world," he told the World Turkish Business Council held in Azerbaijan, adding that members of the Turkish diaspora worldwide must fight this smear campaign against Turkey.
Instead of expecting the Turkish government do everything, everyone should take responsibility to defend Turkey's rightful position in Syria through social media, the press, television, etc.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Amid the successful operation, social media accounts linked to the YPG/PKK terror groups have stepped up disinformation and manipulation efforts.
YPG/PKK-affiliated social media accounts use photos taken years ago and thousands of miles away to smear Turkey’s efforts to eradicate a terror corridor along its southern border and bring stability to the region.
* Writing by Aysu Bicer