“Afrin became a matter of urgency”

By Hayal Özer, Contributing Reporter

Gülnur Aybet is a senior adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She also holds the position of Professor of International Relations at Istanbul’s Yildiz Technical University. In an interview with Global Daily News, she presented her evaluation on Turkey’s Afrin Operation

Gülnur Aybet – Turkey’s Afrin operation was launched due to the urgent national security concern Turkey was facing. The YPG, equivalent to PKK which is a terrorist organization and recognized as such by the U.S. and E.U. launched attacks on Turkey using their geographical space during the Syrian war.

Particularly, they have been using Afrin as a base to infiltrate the southeast province of Hatay in Turkey where they have been deploying their weapons and their terrorist fighters inside the Amanos mountains. Now, Turkey has been launching several operations for over a year trying to clean the Amanos mountain area from this terrorist organization and their bases. But each time they clear them out, others come back from Afrin.

This is because Afrin is the main logistical supply route and the main route via which the terrorists infiltrate the border. Recently these attacks have increased in Turkey, and they included attacks against civilians as well as our armed forces, which then also included the security forces. I must address the fact that the terrorist attacks on our security forces were not attacks made in combat, but attacks made on them while they were on leave.
Therefore the operation in Afrin became a matter of urgency and that’s why we launched the operation and while doing so we did it under the ‘right to self-defense’ article 51 of the UN charter.

So under international law, this is a perfectly legitimate operation and in fact, there is not a single NATO ally who would contest this. In fact, NATO General Secretery Jens Stoltenberg said that Turkey has every right to defend its borders.

The other reason why we launched the Afrin operation is because it’s not just about the urgency of Afrin but the fact that Turkey would like to prevent the creation of a corridor adjacent to its border that is controlled by the terrorist organization.

When Afrin is liberated from YPG and PKK it will become a strip of land where stability can be established in the same way Turkey established stability in the area of Euphrates Sheild when it cleared ISIS from the region.
Turkey established a secure environment for refugees to return in the region and this is what we would like to see in Afrin. We would like to see refugees and rightful owners return and take part in local councils.

A Marxist Stalinist organization with a a separatist ideology now control parts in Syria in areas which they did not have prior to the war. They have actually carried out by force this type of forced displacement of Turkmens and Arabs as well as Kurds who did not agree with them.

For example, there are 300,000 Kurdish refugees in Turkey who fled from ISIS and YPG.
As I mentioned, Turkey is pursuing this operation with accordance to the article 51 UN charter and hence as the right to continue to do so under international law.

Turkey is not interested in partitioning Syria or breaking its territorial integrity. On the contrary, Turkey would like to see the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria as a whole, left intact.

Now, of course the U.S. is going to have a new Secretary of State, and most probably Mike Pompeo’s appointment will be approved. We’re hoping that he will continue with the 3 working groups that we had set up earlier during Tillerson’s visit because this is very important in moving forward. I think he comes from a military background and he had a really good working relationship with our head of intel when he was the head of CIA. I think he will be very keen in looking forward to finding ways in which both Turkey and the U.S. can work together to achieve an end to the conflict in Syria and and stabilize the country as a whole. GLOBAL DAILY NEWS