Operation Olive Branch: Washington’s disregard to Turkey’s concerns
Turkey launched the Afrin Operation called Operation Olive Branch, targeting the YPG (Syria’s branch of terror group PKK) last weekend. Initially, Turkey shelled YPG posts, and subsequently administered airstrikes and ground operations, which is clear sign that Turkey is taking serious steps against the YPG in Afrin.
Not surprisingly, the Afrin operation is being monitored closely around the world. Russia’s Defense Ministry issued a statement holding the US responsible for Turkey’s Afrin operation pointing that, “Uncontrolled deliveries of modern weapons, including reportedly the deliveries of the man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), by the Pentagon to the pro-US forces in northern Syria, have contributed to the rapid escalation of tensions in the region.” US Secretery of State Rex Tillerson said that “Washington recognizes and fully appreciates Turkey’s legitimate right to protect its citizens from terrorist elements that may be launching attacks targeting Turkish soil from Syria” but also warned about “civilian casualties.”
US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert responded to Russia’s comment as “I think Russians would like to drive a wedge between two NATO allies, between the United States and Turkey.”
Meanwhile, Turkish authorities said the U.N. Security Council, and all involved countries are being notified.
In order to understand Turkey’s point of view on the Afrin operation, it is essential to understand the trigger behind this operation.
Washington’s relationship with YPG has notably been an evident reason for crises in Turkish-American relations. This affiliation has certainly not been given sufficient attention by both the Obama and Trump administrations. Washington has assumed that they can control Ankara’s reaction and keep bilateral relations on track while arming YPG in Syria against DEASH.
In fact, two years ago Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed anger over Washington’s role in Syria, and urged them to make a choice between Turkey and YPG. However, even though Washington stresses Turkey’s importance as a NATO ally in each statement they release, they failed to address Turkey’s concern regarding PKK and YPG relations. This indeed is a ludicrous game, indicating America’s ignorance regarding the PKK and YPG connection.
Presently, Turkish troops are in the town of Afrin fighting against the US supported YPG since Turkey employs the legitimate right of self-defense, as framed by Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.
Sadly, US is still playing its word games. Perhaps, Washington thought Turkey would hold off their operation as a result of the border force of 30,000 YPG militants. However, Washington should have learned by now that disregard for Turkey’s concerns along with the legitimate pressure of the Turkish public, would result in Turkey’s solid steps against the YPG in Syria.