By Dr Shahid Qureshi: –
Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring is an attempt to remove terrorist elements threaten the world and yet, due to misconceptions, this aim of Turkey is seems to be miss understood by NATO and the EU or is it part of their plan to drown turkey into mess created by the US and its allies as they did in Afghanistan to Pakistan?
“The problems you (Turkey) having today is not because of your enemies but because of your friends like US, NATO and EU. It is time to have open dialogue instead of going around in circle’”, I said to the Turkish prime Minister on 15 July 2016 in a meeting at Prime Minister House in Ankara. His foreign policy adviser told me later: Dr Qureshi, ‘we are having those talks what you suggested’.
Dr Shahid Qureshi speaking to HE Binali Yildrim Prime Minister of Turkey at his official residence 15 July 2016 (Ankara few hours before the coup attempt)
Now due to the existence of widespread misconceptions, Turkey is forced to frequently explain that securing its southern border from terrorist elements is also a step toward ensuring the safety of NATO and EU borders, since these terrorists not only pose a threat to Turkey but to the world as a whole.
Turkey’s also facing 4 & 5 Generation psychological warfare and constant attacks by its NATO friends and not anyone else. So, it is time to have a stiff approach, which President Erdogan has already taken by the telling the EU that: ‘Turkey will open its borders and send 3.6 million refugees across if European countries frame the anti-terror operation as an invasion.
“Bulgaria will not stop a wave of refugees from Turkey if Ankara opens its borders”, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said amid the ongoing anti-terror operation in northern Syria.
“If 50,000-100,000 migrants come to the fence (along Bulgaria’s border with Turkey), neither I nor Karakachanov (Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov) will order the army or the police to open fire. They will bring the fence down and will cross,” Borissov said.
Addressing the EU, Erdoğan said the bloc has never been sincere and added: “Now they say they will withhold 3 billion euros from us. Have you kept any promise you gave us so far? No.” Ankara and Brussels signed an agreement in March 2016 to find a solution to the influx of refugees heading to the union.
According to the deal, ‘Turkey was promised a total of 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in financial aid, which was initially designed to be given to the country in two stages and be used by the Turkish government to finance projects for Syrian refugees. In response to this, Turkey took the responsibility of discouraging irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of more than 3 million Syrians living in Turkey.
Although the EU had pledged 6 billion euros in aid to improve living conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, only 2.22 billion euros were disbursed as of this June, according to Turkey. Also, the EU has yet to fulfil other articles such as the visa-free travel deal for Turkish citizens and updating the customs union. Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. Ankara has so far spent $40 billion on the refugees, according to official figures.
As a responsible member of the international community, Turkey is determined to fight all kinds of terrorism. Unfortunately, the weapons provided by the U.S. for anti-Daesh purposes in Syria end up in the hands of the PKK within its borders. The YPG, falsely declared to be a reliable force against Daesh, continues to commit atrocities against the people of the region and has exiled over 300,000 Syrian Kurds who oppose its rule.
For all these reasons, Turkey has launched Operation Peace Spring based on the right to legitimate self-defense recognized by the U.N. Charter and U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014), 2178 (2014), 2249 (2015) and 2254 (2015).
President Erdoğan also said NATO countries cannot stay silent when a NATO country is being attacked, referring to NATO treaty Article 5.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also criticized yesterday those who caused a humanitarian crisis in Yemen for condemning Turkey’s operation in northern Syria, referring to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“So many people starved to death in their siege. On what grounds do they defame Turkey and oppose Turkey’s operation in northern Syria?” said Çavuşoğlu, speaking to reporters.
“They killed so many people in Yemen and made them starve,” he added.
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming the Houthi rebels, who overran much of Yemen in 2014, including the capital Sanaa.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen and supporting the country’s pro-Saudi government.
Another attack came from U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham who on Wednesday criticized Turkey for launching the much-anticipated operation, saying Ankara did not “have a green light to enter into northern Syria.”
“There is massive bipartisan opposition in Congress, which you should see as a red line you should not cross,” he said.
Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun slammed Graham’s tweet over Turkey’s anti-terror operation in Syria late Wednesday.
Altun responded by reminding the senator of Turkey’s urgent security needs that necessitated the operation against Daesh and the YPG terror groups operating along its southern border.
“I heard that we may have ran a red light. It was an emergency. We were in a rush to unleash hell on PKK and ISIS [Daesh] terrorists, who threatened our citizens,” Altun said.
Turkey has said the terrorist group PKK and its Syrian extension the YPG constitute the biggest threat to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.
Most of northeastern Syria is controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists. Turkey has a 911-kilometer (566-mile) border with Syria and it has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates and the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Hosting nearly 3.6 million refugees, Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrians in a 30-kilometer wide safe zone in Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij. However, the presence of terror groups such as the YPG jeopardizes its formation.
It is time for the US to stop the policy of damaging its friends abroad or putting too much pressure on them to the breaking point be it Pakistan, Turkey or Saudi Arabia. This policy is mainly adopted to distract the US’s internal problems mostly linked with the corruption and theft in its banks and financial institutions.
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Azerbaijan April 2018, Kazakhstan 2015, 2016, 2019 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. At Government College Lahore he wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ and studied Law at a British University. He also speaks at Cambridge University. He is a visiting Professor at Hebe University in China.)
Views expressed are not of The London Post