WSJ op-ed an insult to Syrian Kurds – Turkish ambassador

The Turkish ambassador to the United States has written to the Wall Street Journal to object to an opinion column opposing his country’s military operation in the Syrian region of Afrin.

Ambassador Serdar Kılıç said French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy had attempted to “whitewash” the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in his column.

“This is first and foremost an insult to the 300,000 Syrian Kurds who fled to Turkey to escape PYD-YPG atrocities,” Kılıç said.

“PYD-YPG abuses have been well documented by independent human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch,” he said.

Amnesty International’s Turkey chairman Taner Kılıç is currently under arrest in Turkey. Turkey’s operation did not target the Kurds, but sought to return Afrin to its rightful owners including Kurds, said Serdar Kılıç, who is no relation.

In contrast to the areas captured from the Islamic State (ISIS) by Turkish-led forces, PYD-controlled territory had not proven to be a draw to Syrians seeking asylum in Turkey, he said.

“Not a single Syrian Kurd has dared to return to the areas currently held by the PYD-YPG. The Syrian lands grabbed by this terrorist organisation are in ruins and their demographics altered. Allowing and encouraging a terrorist organisation to steal even more land in Syria, all the while turning a blind eye to the atrocities against original inhabitants, will only perpetuate the root causes that led to the emergence of Daesh/ISIS in the first place.”