Turkey slams Germany’s remarks on Afrin operation
Turkey on Wednesday criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s remarks on Turkey’s ongoing Operation Olive Branch.
In a written statement, the Foreign Ministry said it finds the “unfortunate explanation” by Merkel at the German parliament Wednesday about the operation “unacceptable”, “which is based on disinformation” and “not even remotely close to reality”.
“Turkey is aiming to ensure its national security by using its right to self-defense and to hand over Afrin to its rightful owners [civilians] by liberating it from terrorists with Operation Olive Branch,” it said.
“Operation Olive Branch is a precedent in how to combat terrorism without harming any civilians,” the statement said.
The statement said the data received from Afrin which is regularly shared by Turkey with the public show the dimensions and unfounded nature of the propaganda against the ongoing operation.
“In fact, there is no danger for the citizens of Afrin except the mines and explosives placed by PYD/YPG,” it added.
The statement said that during the operation, these mines and explosives are being cleared to establish security and stability in the region.
“Whereas, we find it extremely odd for some of our allies to continue their tendency to look at events from the eyes of terrorist organizations.
“In close coordination and consultation with our country, we invite you to strive for the establishment of lasting peace, security and stability in Syria” instead of “falling to the position of countries supporting terrorism by lending credence to disinformation operations of terrorist organizations”, the statement said.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin in northwestern Syria amid growing threats from the region.
On Sunday, Turkish-backed troops liberated the town center of Afrin, which had been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since 2012.
According to the Turkish General Staff, Operation Olive Branch aims at establishing security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protecting Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression.
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, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and the “utmost care” is being taken to avoid harming any civilians.