By Sarp Ozer
Chairman of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has voiced support for Turkey's ongoing military operation in Afrin, northern Syria, aimed at eliminating terrorist groups nested in the region.
"There is no other way to clear our borders from terror," Devlet Bahceli told reporters Sunday at a news conference in Kizilcahamam near capital Ankara.
Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh elements from Syria's Afrin.
The Turkish General Staff has said the operation was aimed at establishing security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as eliminating PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups, and protecting the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
"We support Operation Olive Branch against PKK/PYD terror organization. This is a national cause," Bahceli said.
"The operational partner of the United States should be rooted out. PKK, PYD, and YPG which are disguised as the Syrian Democratic Forces should be cleared off of our borders," Bahceli said.
Turkey is conducting the operation under the framework of its rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014) and as per the self-defense right under the 51st item of the UN charter, while being respectful of Syria’s territorial integrity.
The military also said only terrorist targets were being destroyed and “utmost importance” was being given to not harm any civilian.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.
The Turkish cities of Kilis and Hatay across the Syrian border are within the firing range of the PYD/PKK group from Afrin, which sits atop a hill. The terror group has also used Amanos Mountains to penetrate from Syria into Turkey.
The PYD/PKK depends on Afrin to connect to the Mediterranean from northwestern Syria.
The terrorist organization has also threatened gains made from Operations Euphrates Shield and Idlib de-escalation zone over Afrin.
A quarter of Syria's lands and 65 percent of Turkey-Syria border are currently under occupation of the terrorist organization.