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Dec 15 2018

Turkey’s Syria operation also against two Middle East crown princes -columnist

Turkey’s military offence on the east of Euphrates River will be the most critical geopolitical intervention in the region and will also mean a defeat for the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), columnist İbrahim Karagül said in pro-government Yeni Şafak daily on Saturday. 

Turkish President Reecep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Wednesday that Turkey would launch a military operation against Syrian Kurdish forces on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in a couple of days.

Turkey sees the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has been fighting inside Turkey for more than 30 years.

The YPG forms the backbone of the U.S.-led struggle against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. 

Columnist Karagül said on Saturday that the military intervention will mean a war of survival for Turkey, against what he called a new wave of occupational ambitions in the region. 

Turkey has been threatened from all directions and not only Western armies but also local actors have been taking in part in the occupation of the region, Karagül said. 

“In addition to terrorist organisations like the PKK and the ISIS, some countries in the region are also pushed to the battleground by assuming a similar mission like those organisations,” Karagül said. 

“Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia are two important regional actors of this occupation of the West,” Karagül said. “The role those two crown princes assume against Turkey is similar to the role assumed by the PKK and the ISIS,” he said. 

The pro-government columnist said that the operation on the east of Euphrates would also be an operation against those crown princes. “Not only the PKK, but also those two crown princes would be defeated,” he said. 

“Whatever the price to be paid, even if it means suicide, this operation should be launched,” Karagül said.

Since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011, the relationship between Turkey and the Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia has become more strained. 

When Egypt’s democratically elected president Mohamad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted by a military coup, Turkey supported Morsi. Saudi Arabia backed the Egypt military and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former Minister of Defence who became Egypt’s president after the coup.

In May 2017, when a crisis erupted between Qatar and the other Gulf States, Turkey strongly backed Doha.