By Serife Cetin
BRUSSELS (AA) - The safety of Europe, prestige of NATO and protection of the EU starts on Turkey’s border, according to Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) head Zafer Sirakaya Wednesday.
Speaking with Anadolu Agency, Sirakaya said Europe needs to stand by Turkey in the fight against terrorism.
“Europe’s safety, NATO’s prestige and border, and protection of the EU values starts on Turkey’s border,” he said.
He also highlighted that Turkey is fighting against terrorism in Syria’s Afrin via Operation Olive Branch, which was launched on Saturday to eradicate PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from the region.
Sirakaya criticized the Western media for portraying the operation as targeting the Kurdish society.
“Turkey is a country which embraced around 200,000 Kurdish-origin brothers from Kobani [Ayn al-Arab in Arabic] in a day,” he said.
Due to the civil war in their country, many Syrian Kurdish families fled to Turkey, fearing the return to their homeland.
Nearly 350,000 Kurds from Afrin, Syria, left their country, and most of them fled to Turkey after oppression from the terrorist groups, PKK/PYD/YPG and Daesh.
Sirakaya said economic, social and political instability in the Middle East forced people to find refuge, causing a wave of migration; Turkey today hosts around 3.5 million refugees.
Terrorist organizations in Syria do not differentiate between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens; they want to destroy everyone who does not think the way they do, he said, adding that when such organizations cannot destroy, they force people to migrate.
“If terrorism in Syria is not cleared, a new wave of migration will occur,” he warned.
He also said if one wishes to control the spate of racist attacks in Europe, it is necessary to coordinate on migration-related issues.
“We saw how Europe lost control with a migration wave of one million people.”
- Stand by Turkey
Former member of the European Parliament, Ozan Ceyhun, said Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens in Afrin have suffered a lot because of the PYD/PKK terrorist organization’s dominance in the region.
“If Turkey had not intervened in Afrin, most of the civilians in Afrin would have to escape. This would cause a new wave of refugees,” Ceyhun said.
He highlighted that Turkey was carrying out its fight against terrorism to protect the people of Afrin from the terrorist group’s oppression and re-establish the human rights in the region.
He also criticized the Western media’s attitude towards ongoing Operation Olive Branch, terming it “disgraceful”.
“If Europe and the EU wants to protect their own values, then they should support Turkey’s operation.”
- Number of migrants decrease
Ruhi Acikgoz, ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s Brussels Representative, said: “This operation will contribute to the establishment of a safe environment for our Syrian brothers and sisters living in Turkey, enabling them to return to their country.
“Decrease in the number of migrants in Turkey will ensure a decrease in the number of migrants that would go to Europe from Turkey.”
In the framework of Turkey-EU refugee deal in 2016, Acikgoz said Turkey has fulfilled its commitments and there is a serious decrease in the number of refugees going to Europe from his country.
He also added that providing safety along Turkey’s border will contribute to Europe’s border security.
“The operation in Afrin is not aimed at PKK/PYD. It aims at all terror organizations. Daesh is also included in this. Daesh continues to be a big threat for the Europe,” Acikgoz said.
He said NATO allies and EU member states should stand by Turkey.