By Serife Cetin
BRUSSELS (AA) - The European media coverage on Turkey's Operation Olive Branch, in Syria’s northwestern region of Afrin against PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists, has once again displayed their bias and double-standards.
According to information gathered by Anadolu Agency, it is evident that far-left media groups in Europe are creating the false perception that the Kurds who fought against Daesh are being targeted.
The media has been deceived by propaganda spread by the terrorist organization, and so is spreading misinformation about civilian casualties in the region using false images.
On the other hand, the same media is covering demonstrations by PKK sympathizers carrying pictures of their leader Abdullah Ocalan and raising anti-Turkey slogans.
Also, they ignore attacks conducted by supporters of the terrorist organization targeting Turkish citizens, mosques and associations.
Since the launch of the operation, more than 20 attacks have been orchestrated by supporters of the terrorist organization in various countries including Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden and Ireland.
Though the European Union member states officially recognize the PKK as a terrorist organization, their media insists on portraying the group which has murdered thousands of civilians as "freedom fighters and Kurdish insurgents".
In Europe, especially far-left media is close to YPG/PYD/PKK, known for its Marxist-Leninist leaning, and this is openly reflected in the news.
- Terrorist views covered in news
The Independent and Daily Mirror, known as the mainstream left-wing British media, have a history of airing controversial news about Turkey.
On the third day of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch, an article penned by Patrick Cockburn, alleged that Turkey was carrying out ethnic cleansing of Christians and Ezidis in Afrin.
The same daily’s Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, reporting from the region and depending on PYD/PKK sources claimed in an article that Turkey’s operation had caused civilian deaths, including children. Some photographs which were allegedly taken in a hospital in Afrin were also published.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) caused controversy with an article alleging “thousands of civilians were displaced”, quoting representatives of terrorist organizations. However, it also mentions Turkey's security concerns.
One of the most conspicuous reports by the BBC was about a British man who said he was ready to fight against Turkey in Afrin. It said British citizen Jamie Janson went to Syria as a so-called volunteer for humanitarian purposes and published his photo in Syria with a Union Jack (British flag).
- False reports that Kurds being targeted
Reports broadcast by French news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) claimed “Turkish army targets Kurds in Syria."
In almost all of these reports a perception was formed in which the PYD was fighting against the terror group Daesh and it was an ally of international coalition.
On Feb. 3 in a video report, AFP quoted a so-called commander of the PYD speaking about a terrorist who had died during a suicide attack on Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army close to Afrin.
In the report, propaganda images of terrorist organization and posters of Ocalan were broadcast with quotes from Amad Kandal, who is shown as an official of the YPG, talking about a female terrorist who allegedly was killed using torture.
French public broadcaster France Info quoted Bendal Breizh -- who went to Syria from France two years ago and joined the YPG -- in an interview with the title: “Volunteers from France in Syria: Fighting against Daesh with Kurdish forces."
- No distinction between Kurds, terrorists made
German media coverage failed to make any distinction between terrorist group PYD/PKK and the Kurdish population in northwestern Syria, which has suffered violence by the group.
Weekly Der Spiegel’s website covered Turkey’s counter-terror operation with the headline "Turkey bombs Kurds in Syria", but made no reference to PYD/PKK’s decades-long violence, which claimed nearly 40,000 lives, including women and children.
While PKK has long been listed as a terrorist organization in Germany, and its links with PYD and YPG have been clear, most media outlets portrayed them as freedom fighters.
German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung dubbed the operation “Poisonous Olive Branch," and argued that this time Turkey’s military operation was not targeting Daesh but the “Kurds” in Syria.
Another daily Bild criticized arms exports to Turkey, and used the headline “German tanks shooting Kurdish fighters” in recent coverage of the ongoing operation.
Most media outlets backed opposition calls on German government to stop arms exports to NATO ally Turkey.
- PKK demonstrations get wide news coverage
Italy's official news agency ANSA reported a protest by PKK sympathizers against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Vatican-Rome on Feb. 5. However, it called the protester 'Kurds' and not terrorists, even though they were carrying posters of Ocalan and symbols related to the group.
Similar treatment of the news was seen in La Repubblica, La Stampa and Corriere Della Sera newspapers.
- Fake news regarding the Operation
There is also a similar attitude in the Netherlands regarding Turkey and supporters of the terrorist organization.
The Dutch media has portrayed the terror group's supporters as "Kurds or Kurdish fighters" and FSA members as "the jihadists that Turkey has trained".
Dutch state media NOS ran a story with the title: "Kurds say that the Turks who entered Syria have failed" soon after the operation started. The story falsely reported that Turkish forces were unable to enter Afrin due to fierce resistance.
In the story, NOS based its claims to YPG terror group members. De Volkskrant newspaper also made interviews with PYD/PKK supporters and ran a story with the title: "Turkish military operation in northern Syria worries Kurds in the Netherlands."