No: 297, 11 October 2019, Press Release Regarding Certain Comments In The International Community On Operation Peace Spring

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 11.10.2019

The ultimate goal of Operation Peace Spring, launched on October 9, 2019 in the face of multi-dimensional terror threats emanating from Syria against our national security, is to ensure the security of our borders, to neutralize terrorists in the region and to save the Syrian people from the oppression of terrorists.

In spite of this, some countries and circles voiced a number of allegations and comments, which were also reflected in various international media outlets.

The Operation is being conducted on the basis of international law, in accordance with our right of self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and resolutions of the UN Security Council on fight against terrorism.

PYD/YPG is the Syrian offshoot of PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization also by the EU and NATO. During the planning and execution phases of the operation, only PYD/YPG elements and their hideouts, shelters, emplacements, weapons, vehicles and equipment are being targeted. All necessary measures are taken to prevent any harm to civilians and any damage to civilian infrastructure. Allegations that the operation would lead to a new humanitarian crisis and a mass migration flow are fabricated in order to discredit Turkey's counter-terrorism efforts.

Turkey fought against DEASH terrorist organization in Syria more than any other country and paid the heaviest price. Countries which insist on the mistake of combating DEASH by using another terrorist organization, remain idle to PYD/YPG’s release of DEASH detainees in line with the interest of the terrorist organization and even refrain from repatriating their own citizens who are foreign terrorist fighters in the ranks of DEASH, do not have the right to lecture Turkey on the fight against DEASH.

Turkey has no plans whatsoever to modify the demographic structure in the operation area. Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, PYD/YPG terrorist organization has oppressed and intimidated the local population, the Syrian Kurds in particular, and forcibly displaced them. The crimes which PYD/YPG committed against humanity, first and foremost the practices of ethnic cleansing, have been documented by independent international organizations.

Preservation of the territorial integrity and political unity of its neighbor, Syria, is essential for Turkey. Certain countries, which explicitly or implicitly support the separatist agenda of PYD/YPG terrorist organization, are making baseless accusations against Turkey on this matter. This is a manifestation of their frustration for the disruption of their plans to divide Syria.

The allegation that Operation Peace Spring would damage efforts to reach a political solution in Syria is far from reality. Turkey is one of the few countries that exerted maximum and genuine efforts to establish the Constitutional Committee, in close cooperation with other Astana guarantors and the UN. Pursuing a separatist agenda that undermines the principle of territorial integrity and political unity of Syria, on which a political solution must be built upon, PYD/YPG cannot be regarded as a legitimate representative of any segment of the Syrian people. Fighting against such a terrorist organization will only contribute to the advancement of the political process.

Our main expectation from the international community, particularly from our Allies, is to support our fight against terrorism. As it did in the past, Turkey will continue to firmly counter all kinds of terrorist organizations.

Ayşe Selcan Şanlı Consul General
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