By Jan Ellen
NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Earlier today in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan harshly criticized foreign press for using what he termed as “misinformation” about Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria.
Ever since Erdogan gave the go-ahead for the operation last Wednesday, he has come under severe criticism and even condemnation from the Arab League for what they say is an “invasion into an Arab land.”
Erdogan spoke to the press at Istanbul Ataturk Airport on his way to attend the Seventh Summit of the Turkish Council. He said participants at the conference would be thoroughly briefed on Operation Peace Spring at the summit.
Despite the heavy backlash from a number of corners, including the U.S. and the United Nations – Erdogan remains undeterred in his mission to clear PKK militants and terrorists from northeastern Syria in what he deems as an operation to protect Turkey’s borders as well as create a 20-mile safe zone that would run along the Turkish border where Erdogan said Syrian refugees would be able to return.
The operation is being condemned due to reports out of Syria that at least 130,000 people have been forced to flee. A number of civilian casualties have been reported as well as the deaths of some prominent journalists and infrastructure attacks.
The Turkish government has insisted that their targets are solely terrorist infrastructure and that they are not, nor have they targeted civilians or civilian areas.
In fact, Turkish Defense Minister Hulisi Akar told Turkish press earlier today that the YPG known as a terrorist organization – released ISIS prisoners in Tell-Abayd, Syria.
The Turkish president emphasised that European leaders are being subjected to serious misinformation about Turkey’s operations.
Erdogan mentioned that he had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, several days ago and stated that they did not possess the correct information about the operation.
Erdogan commented: “We are a NATO ally…We are under the pressure and harassment of the terror organizational [PKK/PYD-YPG] now. According to Article 5 of NATO [treaty’], which side should these [countries] take? They need to stand us.”
Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization says that “an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all of its members.”
Meanwhile, Erdogan said that he and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had a very productive meeting in Turkey last Friday.
Stoltenberg also held a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul where he commented on Turkey’s position: “No other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks, no other NATO ally has been exposed to instability, violence, turmoil from the Middle East, and no other NATO ally hosts so many refugees as Turkey does, many of them from Syria.”
The Turkish president reiterated that Operation Peace Spring was going along according to plan and that so far, 550 PKK/PYD-YPG terrorists were neutralised.
Additionally, on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will give the entire Turkish Parliament a 20-minute briefing on Operation Peace Spring. Also, President Erdogan is to address the AK Party’s parliamentary group meeting at noon on Wednesday.