By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – Turkey has launched Operation Olive Branch to protect its borders and prevent the establishment of a terror zone, the chief adviser to the president said Monday.
Speaking on British Channel 4’s main news program, Prof. Dr. Gulnur Aybet said Turkey has explained the reasons for the operation to the world.
“We have explained to the entire world why we are doing this, and as you know, the PYD and the armed extension of the PYD, the YPG, are a terrorist organization equivalent to the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union,” she said.
“They do not represent the Syrian Kurds, so it is wrong for you to say they are the representatives of Syrian Kurds, and the PKK are not the representatives of Kurds in Turkey either,” Aybet said.
Aybet underlined that the PYD “is a terrorist organization that has used the advantage of the war to take control of areas where there isn’t a predominantly Kurdish population”.
“And they are attacking Turkey’s southern provinces from these regions. And that’s why we have launched this operation to protect our borders and also to prevent the establishment of a contiguous terror zone next to our border.”
Aybet stressed that Turkey has already made its reasons clear under international law and Article 51 of the UN Charter.
“We have notified the United Nations about this. We are also quoting all the UN Security Council resolutions which are against terrorism,” she added.
Responding to a question from the program’s presenter which implied that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was accepted as a terror organization, Aybet said: “You are so badly informed, and I think you should really go and check up on your facts.”
“The Free Syrian Army, which is working with Turkey, is not a terrorist group. They have also been trained and equipped by the United States. So this is totally wrong the way that you are actually spinning this.”
Aybet said “Turkey has worked very efficiently to clear a very large area from Daesh as well”.
“Turkey has done more in the fight against terrorism in Syria than any other member of the coalition, so I find it completely unacceptable that you are implying that Turkey is actually working with forces that might have some terrorist elements. That’s totally unacceptable.”
- Humanitarian issue
Aybet said “the Turkish Red Crescent is now poised in the area called Azez and they are waiting to evacuate and take care of those civilians,” but the PYD and the regime are not letting them through.
“So we are actually waiting for relief to be delivered to those civilians, and the Turkish army is taking extremely great care to avoid civilian casualties. But unfortunately, the PYD is using civilians as human shields, and this is exactly what’s happening on the ground.”
She also stressed that Turkey has warned the U.S. not to use a terror organization in the fight against Daesh.
“We have said to the Americans that you cannot fight a terrorist force with another terrorist force.
“This is ultimately going to backfire against the international community, and we still stand by that statement. And I think the Americans are going to learn the folly of arming the YPG in this way because this is a terrorist organization that’s been given weapons by a NATO ally that are being used against us.”