By Ayse Yildiz
ANTALYA, Turkey (AA) – Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the current Turkish-led counterterrorist operation in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region both aimed to eliminate a threat against Turkey and to bring peace to Syria.
“The operation that we are conducting does not only aim to eliminate a threat against Turkey. It is also an operation that will bring tranquility, peace and stability to Syria and preserve the territorial integrity of Syria,” Cavusoglu said at a trade fair in the southern Antalya province.
Criticizing the recent remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron over Turkey’s operation he said: “No worries. We are not France. We are the Republic of Turkey. We are Turks.”
“Those who see all countries […] as countries to be occupied or colonies and those who colonized them suppose Turkey is just like they are.”
“We know very well their history. We see how they are colonists,” he added.
In an interview with Le Figaro published on Wednesday, Macron warned that if Turkey’s current operation turned into an “invasion”, this would be a “real problem” for France.
Cavusoglu also recalled a 17-year-old girl who was martyred in Reyhanli district of southern Hatay province by a rocket fired from Syria on Wednesday, and a rocket landed in southern Kilis province on Friday.
“Why are you turning a blind eye to all of these? Why aren’t you defending the rights of civilians killed here?” Cavusoglu said.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity.