Mar 19 2018

Turkish spirits high after Afrin victory - Euronews

Turkey’s successful capture on Sunday of the northwest Syrian town of Afrin has helped stir the country’s nationalist passions, as was reflected in the headlines of its major newspapers the next day, Michael Daventry wrote for EuroNews on Monday.

“And the flag is in Afrin,” proclaimed Hürriyet, Turkey’s highest circulation newspaper, while pro-government daily Sabah featured a picture of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan under the headline “Turkey’s victory day,” Daventry reported.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear fighters from the mostly-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Afrin, an area of Syria the borders the Turkish provinces Hatay and Kilis.

The rising strength of the YPG and its political counterpart the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the area, which it had governed autonomously since the Syrian regime’s withdrawal in 2012, was a grave concern for Turkey, which sees the groups as extensions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed group that has been in conflict with Turkish armed forces for decades.

Turkish citizens shared the government’s concerns around Afrin and welcomed the operation, according to Daventry’s article/

"Afrin was occupied by an extension of a terrorist organisation," Daventry quoted Ankara resident Burç Aydemir as saying. "They were breaching our borders and committing bloody attacks in our country. So for me this operation was the right move, even though it was a little late."

This sentiment is not unanimous, however, with the third largest opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) a particular source of dissent on the issue.

"We call on the United Nations, European Council, European Parliament, international coalition forces, Islamic countries and the international community as a whole to take steps to immediately avert the tragedy in Afrin and get concrete results including withdrawal of all armed forces who entered Afrin,” Daventry quoted HDP MP Berdan Öztürk as saying.