Monday

17th Jun 2019

Opinion

'Operation Olive Branch' for self-defence and regional stability

Entering its seventh year, the conflict in Syria continues to be a direct threat to international security and regional stability.

Turkey's land border with Syria and Iraq, measuring 1,295 km in length, requires Turkey to be alert to the developments within its neighbors and vigilant towards the security threats emanating from these countries.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Turkey's ambassador to the EU, Faruk Kaymakci, meeting EU Council president Donald Tusk (Photo: eu.consilium)

Turkey's national security is under the direct threat of Syria-based terrorist organisations, among which Deash and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)/Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK)'s Syria-affiliate Kurdish Democratic Union party (PYD)/People's Protection Unit (YPG) are at the forefront.

The recent increase in rocket attacks and harassment fires (more than 700 so far), directed at Hatay and Kilis provinces of Turkey from the Afrin region of Syria, which is under the control of the PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG terrorist organisation, resulted in the death of scores of civilians and soldiers.

On the other hand, the recent advance of Deash terrorists into the Afrin region from other parts of Syria has heightened the risk of Deash elements infiltrating the Turkey-Syria border and targeting the security of Turkey as well as EU countries.

It must be underscored that these terrorist groups are also a direct threat to the unity of Syria and are a main source of instability which impedes civilians to reside peacefully in their habitats.

The PYD/YPG's real intention is not to fight Deash or protect Kurds and Yazidis. Their real aim is to force demographic change and create separatist enclaves or terrorist hide-outs in the north of Syria.

Measured and proportionate

In countering the threat of terrorism, Turkey's response has always been measured and proportionate, in line with its international obligations and based on the right of self-defence.

As such, Turkey has successfully concluded the 'Operation Euphrates Shield' in 2017, through which 2,015 square kilometres of land was cleared from Deash and a safe zone free of terror could be established, enabling thousands of displaced Syrians to return home.

To counter the recent surge of terrorist incursions and attacks on its territory, Turkey initiated the 'Operation Olive Branch' on 20 January 2018.

'Operation Olive Branch' is not conducted against the Kurds of Syria.

Neither does Turkey have an ulterior motive of invading or remaining in Syria.

It must be underlined that Turkey, unequivocally committed to the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria, has undertaken this measure with a view to reinforcing these basic principles and contributing to the efforts of the international community to reach a political solution in the framework of the Geneva peace talks.

Furthermore, 'Operation Olive Branch' is aimed at ensuring our border security, neutralising terrorists in Afrin and preventing a demographic change in the north of the country, helping Syrians to return to their homes as well as facilitating humanitarian assistance to the liberated areas through secured corridors.

As such, the operation targets only terrorists and their hideouts, shelters, emplacements, weapons, vehicles and equipment. All precautions are taken to avoid collateral damage to the civilian population.

Turkey and the EU have common security interests when it comes to eradicating the terrorist threat emanating from the region and alleviating the migratory pressure caused by the mass influx of displaced millions fleeing bloodshed.

It must be emphasised that Turkey remains staunchly committed to finding a genuine political solution to the conflict in Syria as outlined in the Geneva communique and the respective UN security council resolution (2254), and will continue its efforts to make this a reality as soon as possible.

In the meantime, it is vital that Turkey, an EU candidate and NATO ally, has the backing of its European allies and friends in addressing its legitimate security concerns, which contributes to the overall security and stability of the EU and beyond.

Faruk Kaymakci is Turkey's ambassador to the EU

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Turkey 'ready' to reform terror laws for EU visa deal

Faruk Kaymakci, Turkey's ambassador to the EU, says Ankara is ready to reform its anti-terror laws and meet all outstanding benchmarks so that Turks can travel freely to EU member states without visas.

Erdogan's diplomats have become 'Gulenist-busters'

Under president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's diplomats have been turned into agents hunting supposed followers of his opponent Fethullah Gulen, and are now suspected of harassing journalists even in Belgium.

Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin currently live outside Spain. They were prosecuted for the serious crimes, and they have fled justice. It is not possible to judge in absentia in Spain, where the justice system protects the rights of defendants.

Letter

MDIF responds to Orban criticism

In his response, Dr Zoltan Kovacs does not even try to refute my main point about Hungary: that most Hungarian news media have been captured by the state, and that this anti-democratic trend is spreading across Eastern Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  2. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat
  3. Tanker attacks pose questions for EU on Iran deal
  4. Johnson skips TV debate for UK prime ministership
  5. Slovakia's first female president takes office
  6. Irish immigration officers flew back business class
  7. Catalan MEP denied taking seat in European Parliament
  8. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds

Six takeaways on digital disinformation at EU elections

For example, Germany's primetime TV news reported that 47 percent of political social media discussions were related to the extreme-right AfD party, when in fact this was the case only for Twitter - used by only four percent of Germans.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  2. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  3. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  4. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  5. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  6. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  7. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  8. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  2. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  5. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  10. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  11. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  12. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us