Erdoğan promises to honour a little girl with the flag, if martyred

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised to honour a young girl with the Turkish flag if martyred, during a speech in Kahramanmaraş on Saturday.

Among the party members' cheers "Chief! Take us to Afrin," President Erdoğan invited a little girl dressed as a soldier to the podium. "If she is martyred, we will honour her with the flag, God willing," the president said.

Turkish jets have been crossing the Turkey-Syria border and bombing posts held by Syrian Kurdish militia (PYD) in the northwestern enclave of Afrin since January 20th of this year. Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist organisation, an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) armed militias fighting in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), in a report on Saturday,  said that 259, including 40 Turkish soldiers were killed. SOHR reporting said that 243 YPG and the Self-Defense forces were killed during Turkish shellings and attacks in Afrin countryside. The Turkish military announced that 32 Turkish soldiers were killed and 183 were injured.

With ninety percent of Turks supporting the Turkish military operation against the Kurdish-controlled Afrin region, Erdoğan has been using a gradually more nationalistic tone in his rallies.

Turkey will have three elections in a row in the upcoming year-and-a-half. Pro-government columnists Abdulkadir Selvi argued that the support for Erdogan's governing party increased to nearly 50% since the Afrin operation launched.

Most recently several Turkish children in military uniform saluted the Turkish President during a speech in the Turkish parliament last week. Children that are being increasingly taken part on the social media in support of Afrin operation also create some backlash.