By Ilkay Guder and Ali Kemal Akan
ANKARA (AA) - On its official Twitter account, the Turkish presidency has answered 10 questions -- in both Turkish and English -- about Operation Olive Branch, which will enter its second week on Saturday.
The presidency provided concise explanations about various aspects of the operation, including its main objectives and its anticipated economic and humanitarian impact.
Last Saturday, Turkey, in cooperation with the Free Syrian Army, launched Operation Olive Branch with the stated aim of eliminating the PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist presence in Syria’s northern Afrin district.
The PYD/PKK has enjoyed a significant presence in Afrin -- which lies close to the Turkish border -- since mid-2012, when Syrian regime forces withdrew from the area without a fight.
According to Turkey’s General Staff, the campaign is aimed primarily at purging the border area of terrorist elements and protecting the local civilian population.
The operation is being conducted on the basis of international law; past UN Security Council resolutions; the right to self-defense as enshrined by the UN charter; and respect for Syria's unity and territorial integrity.
Turkish military officials, meanwhile, have stressed that the "utmost importance" was being attached to the avoidance of civilian casualties.
The following are some of the questions and answers provided by the Turkish presidency:
-What’s Operation Olive Branch?
The operation which Turkey launched against PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists on Saturday is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, and its right to self-defense under the UN charter's Article 51 and respect for Syria's territorial integrity.
-Is Turkey’s national security at risk?
Turkey is a direct target of the PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist organizations, both of which stepped up their attacks on Turkey after the Syrian civil war began in 2011. More than 700 attacks on Turkey have been carried out from Syrian territory within the last year alone.
-What are the operation’s objectives?
Operation Olive Branch aims to establish security and stability along the Turkey-Syria border region and to protect Syrian civilians from the terrorist groups’ depredations. It also aims to ensure the safe return of displaced Syrians to their homes.
-Who are the operation’s primary targets?
The operation specifically targets the PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist groups. It does not target any particular religious or ethnic groups.
-When will the operation end?
The operation will continue until the terrorism-related security threat in the region is eliminated and the last terrorist is neutralized.
-Will the operation harm civilians?
The utmost care is being given to avoid any harm to the region’s civilian population.
-Will the operation affect the ongoing fight against Daesh?
Daesh represents one of the operation’s primary targets. Contrary to popular belief, the PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist groups work together to achieve their aims.
-What does the operation mean for Europe’s security?
The operation will serve to secure NATO’s southern border. What’s more, it will curb the flow of terrorist elements and undocumented migrants into Europe.
-How will it reduce the refugee outflow from Syria?
The operation aims to stabilize the region, thus preventing new refugee outflows and allowing displaced Syrians to return to their homes. Following Turkey’s successful Operation Euphrates Shield, more than 100,000 refugees returned to Jarablus. The successful conclusion of Operation Olive Branch will allow 500,000 refugees to return to Afrin.
-Will the operation affect the Turkish economy?
Despite recent negative developments in the region, the Turkish economy was one of the world’s fastest growing economies last year, growing by more than 11 percent in the last quarter. Turkey’s economy was not affected by 2016’s failed coup attempt or Operation Euphrates Shield. The economic impact of Operation Olive Branch will likely be negligible.