Turkey helping Kurds in Afrin – ambassador to Washington
Turkey’s ambassador to Washington Serdar Kılıç has penned a letter to the Wall Street Journal to correct “falsehoods” published in the newspaper about the conflict between Turkey and Kurdish forces in the northwest Syrian enclave of Afrin.
Kılıç wrote in response to an article by French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy, which called on world leaders to “stand up to Erdoğan’s brutality” in the operation against the mainly Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government launched Operation Olive Branch against the YPG forces in control of Afrin on Jan. 20. Turkey considers the group to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist-designated group that has been involved in conflict with the Turkish armed forces for decades.
However, the YPG neither represent all Kurds nor even protect them, wrote Kılıç, saying that 300,000 Syrian Kurds had fled to Turkey “to escape PYD-YPG atrocities”.
“Not a single Kurd has dared to return to the areas currently held by the PYD-YPG,” he added.
Kılıç also denied that Turkey’s aim in Operation Olive Branch was to target Kurds, saying “Turkey aims at clearing Afrin from the terrorist usurpers and returning the land to its rightful owners: the Syrian people, including the vast majority of Syrian Kurds who do not share the murderous ideology of the PYD-YPG.”