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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 18-01-22

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>



No. 15/18 20-22.01.18


  • [01] Erdogan targeted Afrika for describing as invasion the Turkish "operation" in Afrin ? Mob causes serious damages to Afrika's offices
  • [02] Akinci comments on the Turkish invasion to Syria
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot politicians' stance on Turkey's military operation in Arfin
  • [04] Recent developments after Turkey's operation in Afrin will reportedly affect the "efforts for establishing a coalition government" in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [05] Columnist in Turkish Cypriot daily compares Turkey's threats in Syria with those in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • [06] A prayer in all mosques in the occupied area of Cyprus for Turkey's operation in Afrin
  • [07] Former Commander and former chief of staff of the "Turkish Cypriot peace forces" in the occupied area of Cyprus were arrested as FETO suspects
  • [08] Erdogan: "The main objective is to hand Afrin over to its true owners"
  • [09] Yildirim: Turkey's Operation Olive Branch 'aims to bring 10,000 km2 of Afrin under control'
  • [10] Turkey to brief NATO Deputy Secretary General about cross border Afrin operation
  • [11] Turkish Foreign Ministry: "Anyone who opposes Turkey's Afrin op will be siding with terrorists"
  • [12] Turkey's opposition parties lend support to Afrin operation
  • [13] Azerbaijan backs Turkey's operation in Syria's Afrin


    [01] Erdogan targeted Afrika for describing as invasion the Turkish "operation" in Afrin ? Mob causes serious damages to Afrika's offices

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (21.01.18) referred to the Turkish military invasion in Afrin, Syria, under the banner front-page title "Another occupation operation from Turkey". Above the title the paper reported that "After the Peace Operation in Cyprus, the Olive Branch Operation in Syria".

    Today Afrika (22.01.18) reports that addressing a rally in Bursa yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to Afrika's front-page title and said: "A vulgar newspaper in northern Cyprus has used an immoral title. I call on my brothers in the TRNC to assume an attitude. It says that the Turkish army is carrying out a new invasion after Cyprus. What immorality is this, what shamelessness. I am referring to my brothers from northern Cyprus. They must give the necessary answer".

    After Erdogan's statements, some organizations announced that they will hold a protest today in front of Afrika's offices. Ahmet Sennaroglu, self-styled mayor of occupied Komi Kepir village, said that he was going to participate in the protest with the entire personnel of his "municipality". The so-called cultural association of the illegal settlers from the Black Sea area issued a statement claiming that "the reply from the President [Translator's note: They mean Erdogan] came. My brothers from the TRNC must give the necessary answer".

    Huseyin Ozgurgun, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, strongly reacted against Afrika. Writing in his social media account, Ozgurgun alleged: "If Turks are not murdered in Cyprus since 1974, the only reason for this is the Turkish Armed Forces which brought and protect peace. Those who call our army as occupation army serve only racist ELAM, the Church and those who want enosis [translator's note: Cyprus' unification with Greece] and will definitely face our strong reaction".

    The General secretary of the United Cyprus Party (YKP), Murat Kanatli and the Revolutionary Communist Union expressed their support to Afrika. Kanatli noted that what Afrika wrote and caused Erdogan's anger was true, that is Turkey has invaded both Cyprus and Syria. Kanatli said that Erdogan and his "gang" will be responsible of whatever happens in the occupied area of Cyprus from now on.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.01.18) reports that Erdogan called Ozgurgun, asking him to take measures regarding Afrika's publication.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (22.01.18) refers to the issue under the banner front-page title "Erdogan targeted Afrika newspaper".

    Under the title "Condemnation of Afrika", Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (22.01.18) reports that the National Unity Party (UBP) issued a statement by which it strongly condemns "the paper which presents as invasion" the "operation" carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces for "the security of the borders" and Turkey's "territorial integrity".

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.01.18, online: reports that the mob which gathered in front of Afrika's offices today "razed to the ground" the interior of the paper. The windows of the building were totally broken, the paper's signboard was uprooted and thrown away and the inner part of the newspaper's offices has been turned into a place that cannot be used, writes Kibris which publishes also pictures from the damages.


    [02] Akinci comments on the Turkish invasion to Syria

    Illegal Bayrak television (22.01.18, reported that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci issued a statement today on Turkey's invasion to Afrin, Syria, and how it has influenced the situation in the occupied area of Cyprus.

    Akinci alleged, inter alia, the following:

    "What brought about the Turkish Armed Forces' operation in Cyprus on 20 July 1974 was the coup which was carried out on 15 July by the Greek junta and Nikos Sampson and was aiming at enosis. If the 20th of July had not happened, the Turkish Cypriots would most probably have been turned into a Turkish minority like in West Thrace. We cannot accept an action which prevented enosis to be called 'occupation'. It is a very heavy accusation which even the UN is not making today and it is not correct to ascribe the definition of 'occupier' to a country, which extended its hand for peace in 2004 within the framework of the Annan Plan and in the summer of 2017 during the Crans Montana Conference and which has exhibited a will for a solution which would lead to a serious reduction of the number of troops, only to, unfortunately face the rejection of the Greek Cypriot side.

    As far as the developments in Syria are concerned, the war completes its seventh year. The US, Russia, Iran and many other states and various armed organizations are located in the area. Turkey had earlier felt the need to materialize an operation in the area. Now it has launched the Afrin operation for its own border security. [?] As a community which experienced the pain of war, we do not want, of course, bloodshed but we cannot ignore Turkey's right to take measures in order not to experience bigger pain in the future. [?]

    What I want to note as regards Afrika newspaper's publication is the following: Afrika is the newspaper, which, except for the first three days, has been criticizing me in the strongest manner almost every day during this period of almost three years I have been on duty. Most of the criticism was strong and unfair but I have not thought for even one day that it would be better if this newspaper was silenced. I do not adopt, I do not approve the front page title published by the paper yesterday. But what is wrong can only be confronted with what is right. No matter how disturbing the article is, the solution should be found in the intellectual sphere. No attempt should be made for provocations, instigations [?]. I want to reiterate the necessary warning which I have made to the security forces' command and the police general director. I believe that they will take any kind of measures and will not give opportunity for unwanted situations to be experienced. [?] During a time common sense and unity are needed, we are unfortunately being dragged towards a very serious course. [?]"


    [03] Turkish Cypriot politicians' stance on Turkey's military operation in Arfin

    Under the title "We are with you, Turkey", Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (22.01.18), on its front page, reports that from the politicians in the occupied area of Cyprus Ozgurgun, Ozersay, Denktas, Sucuoglu and Arikli condemned terrorism and gave strong support to the Turkish army. While Erhurman and Ozyigit, through the social media, gave support to the territorial integrity both to Turkey and Syria.

    Huseyin Ozgurgun, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) and former "prime minister", in a post at his twitter account regarding the Olive branch operation carried out by Turkey in Syria's Afrin, expressed the hope that the operation will end with success. He added that the Turkish Cypriot "people" have always supported Turkey and the Turkish armed forces.

    Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), in a press release, expressed his support to the Olive Branch operation carried out by Turkey, adding that they should all respect the operation against the "terrorist organizations" for Turkey's territorial integrity and security. He further argued that those who are being called as "pacifists" do not say anything for the USA, Britain, Russia and Germany, who do not have even borders with Syria but interfere in the Middle East, and every time they make statements against Turkey. He further alleged that if the Turkish army in 1974 was "pacifist" and did not interfere, then the Turkish Cypriots would not be able to write even their name in their own language today. He concluded by saying: "May God support and protect the Turkish armed forces".

    Kudret Ozersay, leader of the People's Party (HP), evaluating Turkey's military operation in Afrin, argued that Turkey conveyed the message in the region's countries and internationally that it will not hesitate to do whatever is necessary for its security and territorial integrity.

    Tufan Erhurman, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), in a post at his social media account, said that the region was desperate for peace and expressed the hope that the Olive Branch operation that is aimed at protecting Turkey's and Syria's territorial integrity and security will be completed successfully in the way it was intended. "We hope that the terror and fighting comes to an end very soon without any further loss of life and a peace is reached so that the people in the area can live in tranquillity and in security", said Erhurman.

    Cemal Ozyigit, leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP), in a statement via his social media account regarding the Olive Branch operation, said that innocent people are the ones who pay for all the developments that take place during wars. "We give great importance to the security, peace and tranquillity of Turkey and Syria. I hope that in the shoo nest time possible peace will reign in our region", Ozyigit added.


    [04] Recent developments after Turkey's operation in Afrin will reportedly affect the "efforts for establishing a coalition government" in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.01.18) under the front-page title: "The first crisis", reports that Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper's headline regarding Turkey's "Olive Branch Operation" in Afrin, where it called Turkey "an occupier" and also the recent statements by Dogus Derya, "deputy" with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) who condemned the Turkish government for the Operation in Afrin saying that "blood-thirsty governments fail to bring peace", will reflect the "efforts for establishing a coalition government" in the occupied area of Cyprus.

    According to the paper, the first reaction against the statement by Derya came from the basis of the Democratic Party (DP) which expressed uneasiness over Derya's statements. According to the paper, pressure is exerted from the basis of the party not to attend today's scheduled meeting for the "four-partite coalition talks" or to completely "withdraw".

    Also, commenting on the recent developments, Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party, issuing a written statement reacted over those condemning Turkey's Afrin operation and alleged that the "developments are expected to affect negatively the four-party coalition talks".

    Also, so-called prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun claimed that those who make statements against Turkey are serving the Greek Cypriot side's positions.

    Meanwhile, it was stated that the so-called Turkish ambassador in the occupied part of Lefkosia, Derya Kanbay was going to express his reaction today during the "oath ceremony" of Derya in the so-called assembly. It was announced that Kanbay would have walk out from the "assembly" during Derya's oath taking.


    [05] Columnist in Turkish Cypriot daily compares Turkey's threats in Syria with those in the Eastern Mediterranean

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.01.18) reports that in a commentary under the title: "Looking into Syria and commenting about the Eastern Mediterranean", columnist Mete Tumerkan evaluates Turkey's recent threats for possible Afrin operation in Syria, as well the operation as such and compares Turkey's decisive stance about Syria issue, aiming to protect by all means its territorial integrity in the region and its borders, with the situation in Cyprus.

    Referring to Turkey's threats against the Republic of Cyprus in case "it will continue its unilateral oil operation activities in the Eastern Mediterranean disregarding the rights of the Turkish Cypriots", Mete Tumerkan recalled that the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey have stated several times that they would not be just "spectators against any unilateral steps towards the hydrocarbon issue" before reaching to a fair and lasting solution on the Cyprus problem based on the political equality of the sides. "Turkey reiterated several times that it will not permit fait-accompli".

    The columnist goes on supporting that it was proven after Turkey's operation in Syria, the first one called "Firat Kalkanli" and the second one called "Zeytin Dali-Olive Branch" that Turkey's determination and deciciveness should not be tested by anyone.

    "Comparing with the developments in Syria, Turkey is determined to protect the Turkish Cypriot people's rights and interest in Cyprus until the end. If Turkey's threats are taken in mind, it is certain that no problem will be experienced. But if are not taken in mind and if Turkey takes action against anyone trying to create fait-accompli, then nothing will be the same. This is the situation. We hope that logic will preserve against any crisis and that there will be a real willingness for solving the Cyprus problem".


    [06] A prayer in all mosques in the occupied area of Cyprus for Turkey's operation in Afrin

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (22.01.18) reports that all mosques throughout the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus prayed yesterday morning (Sunday morning) for the victory of the Turkish military operation in Syria's Afrin.

    According to a press release by the "presidency of religious affairs", the "head of religious affairs" Prof. Dr Talip Atalay sent a message to all the "religious officers" in the occupied area of Cyprus that the prayer of the "conquer" to be read in all mosques for the victory of the Turkish army and the survival of the Muslim Turkish nation.


    [07] Former Commander and former chief of staff of the "Turkish Cypriot peace forces" in the occupied area of Cyprus were arrested as FETO suspects

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (20.01.18) reports that the former Commander of the "Turkish occupation forces" in the occupied area of Cyprus, retired Lieutenant General Ilyas Bozkurt and the former chief of staff of the "Turkish occupation forces", retired colonel Erdal Dodurga, were arrested for suspected ties to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).


    [08] Erdogan: "The main objective is to hand Afrin over to its true owners"

    The Presidency of Turkey (21.01.2018 published in its website the speech of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Afrin operation:

    Speaking at the Bursa Provincial Congress of AK Party's Women Branch, President Erdogan said: "PKK, PYD, YPG were all supported and some of them were positioned in Afrin. From where? From the south of the 2, 000 square km-wide area. We followed these, we waited, we endured and one night, we hit them all of a sudden. However, we have a lot of work and things to do. [?] Some accuse us of a so-called "genocide" but in fact, it is the Turkish nation that was subjected to the biggest genocide of the last century. The number of civilian casualties during our retreat from the Balkans exceeds 2 million and an approximate number of people were lost in the Caucasus," and added: "The number of people we lost due to the massacres which resulted in the much disputed Armenian relocation is many times higher than the numbers considered as 'genocide'. As we are a nation which trusts in Allah and buries its sorrow in its heart, as we do not make propaganda concerning this issue, we are left astonished in the face of the opposite claims."


    President Erdogan indicated that necessary steps were taken last night with the air operation which was followed by a still on-going ground operation. Drawing attention to the fact that the population of Afrin consists of 55% Arabs, 35% subsequently positioned Kurds and 6-7% Turkmens, President Erdogan made the following remarks: "Now, the main objective is to hand Afrin over to its true owners. What is our goal? Do we have 3.5 million Syrian refugees living on our lands? Yes, we do. Our target is to repatriate these Syrian brothers and sisters as soon as possible. There are current steps taken in this direction. We do and will take all the necessary steps against the separatist terror organization with determination. It is not possible to compromise this. We will eliminate all elements of PKK, PYD and YPG from our country. Those who want to advance from Syria will pay a heavy price for it. Rest assured, they will have no courage left to stand before us after these operations. You must know this, you cannot cope with the Turkey and Turkish nation by solely ranting, raving and saying 'We have the US behind us, they send us weapons.'"

    Underscoring that nobody abandoned their ambitions over Turkey, President Erdogan indicated that attacks targeting the territorial and national integrity go on incessantly. Drawing attention to the fact that it became impossible to disregard the outcry resonating throughout the region, President Erdogan made the following remarks: "A cheap and nasty newspaper gave an impertinent headline today in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). I invite my brothers and sisters in TRNC to adopt a particular attitude there. It is argued that the Turkish army engaged in a new invasion after Cyprus. What kind of impertinence is this? My brothers and sisters in TRNC should adopt a particular stance and give the necessary response to this in TRNC. Even if we look back on the last 25 years, we come face to face with the massacres taking place in Bosnia, Iraq, Palestine and now Syria. We do not know where and what kind of sorrows and oppression await us in the future. Therefore, we do not have the luxury to isolate ourselves from and remain outside the incidents taking place in our region."

    Underlining that those who ask "What is Turkey doing here?" are oblivious to the reality of this country and nation, President Erdogan said: "Turkey has to be present there. Turkey has to nip the snake in the bud for the sake of national survival, Mr. Kemal. We shall be present everywhere deemed essential for us and for our brothers and sisters pinning their hope upon us."


    President Erdogan emphasized that we will continue to prevail in this region for thousands of years to come and touched upon the important steps taken concerning the issue of Al-Quds within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation under Turkey's term presidency. Recalling that only eight countries sided with the US, President Erdogan said: "Thankfully, 128 countries came together. We will not stop here, we will continue to make efforts because Al-Quds is the first kiblah of Muslims. Christians also have temples there." Indicating that Turkey's stance aroused interest not only in the Islamic world but also in the Christian world, President Erdogan explained that he personally contacted the Pope and they shall visit the Vatican city to pursue a second round of communication. Recalling that the Pope had previously paid a visit to Turkey, President Erdogan stated that he will be making a return visit.


    [09] Yildirim: "Turkey's Operation Olive Branch 'aims to bring 10,000 km2 of Afrin under control"

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily news (22.01.18 reports that the Prime Ministry's Office of Public Diplomacy has cited the reasons for Turkey's military operation against Syria's northern Afrin province in a 12-article note.

    The note, titled "What Turkey aims to do with Afrin operation," was posted on the office's official Twitter account on Jan. 21. It cited the following reasons for the operation:

    * To ensure the Turkey-supported Free Syrian Army (FSA) takes control of a 10,000-square kilometer area.

    * Following on from the Euphrates Shield Operation and the operation in Idlib, to completely prevent the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) from reaching the Eastern Mediterranean.

    * To eliminate the possibility of losing Turkey's geographical contact with the Arab world.

    * To ensure the security of our borders with Syria.

    * To prevent the infiltration of the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the PKK into Turkey through the Amanos Mountains.

    * To prevent a terrorist organization from opening to the Mediterranean and to the world from here

    * To ensure the security and continuation of the Euphrates Shield Operation area.

    * To take control of the Tel Rifaat region and ensure the return of civilians to their homelands.

    * To counter U.S. support for a terrorist organization.

    The office also added three articles stating "Why Afrin is important to Turkey," cited as follows:

    * Afrin is critical in maintaining the security of Turkey's border provinces and ensuring the security of the Euphrates Shield Operation area.

    * The presence of terrorist organizations in Afrin means that the whole of the southern Turkish province of Kilis and most of the Hatay province are within range of terrorist organizations.

    * Turkey sees the merging of the Kobane area with Afrin as the most important pillar of the "Kurdish corridor" project.

    [10] Turkey to brief NATO Deputy Secretary General about cross border Afrin operation

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (22.01.18 reports that NATO's Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller is set to visit Ankara on Jan. 22, and Istanbul on Jan. 23, amid the Turkish military's ongoing cross border operation against Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants in Syria's northwestern Afrin province.

    Ankara will brief the NATO official about the ongoing incursions, as part of the diplomatic briefings given to partners and international bodies, a Foreign Ministry official told Hurriyet Daily News.

    Gottemoeller will hold meetings with Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Ambassador Ahmet Yildiz, and other high level officials. Gottemoeller will also visit the NATO Center of Excellence for Defense against Terrorism, and participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Ataturk Mausoleum. In Istanbul, she is scheduled to visit the 3rd Army Corps and Multinational Joint Warfare Centre Command and deliver a speech at the National Defense University.

    Her visit comes after Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sent a letter last week to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Stoltenberg informed Erdogan about the measures taken after an incident at NATO's Joint Warfare Centre in Norway in November. The Secretary General once more apologized for the scandal, diplomatic sources told Hurriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity.

    Turkey had withdrawn 40 troops from the NATO military drill in Norway after a scandalous incident in which the country's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were targetted.

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry is keeping Ambassadors from several countries in the region informed about the operation, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

    Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also spoke on the phone with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on Jan. 21, to inform him about Turkey's military engagements in Syria's Afrin.

    The Ambassadors of Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were also invited to the Ministry for a briefing on Jan. 21, along with the EU Ambassador to Ankara.

    [11] Turkish Foreign Ministry: "Anyone who opposes Turkey's Afrin op will be siding with terrorists"

    Turkish daily Sabah (22.01.18 reports that the Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu stated: "We hope France will support Turkey's operation against terrorists in Syria," .

    Cavusoglu noted that the operation will take precautions to ensure no civilian or innocent person would be harmed.

    Earlier in the day, Cavusoglu held a phone conversation with French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian regarding Turkey's Operation Olive Branch. In addition,

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (22.01.18 reports that Turkey's military operation on the Kurdish militia group the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria's Afrin province will not affect the Syrian conference in Sochi scheduled for later this month, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a televised interview on Jan. 20.

    [12] Turkey's opposition parties lend support to Afrin operation

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (22.01.18 reports the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the recently formed IYI (Good) Party have all lent full support to the military operation against the People's Protection Units (YPG) militants in Syria's Afrin province.

    "We are totally confident about our brave army and give full support to the operation. What we care about is the security of our borders. No countries would want a terrorist organization on their border," CHP leader Kilicdaroglu told Hurriyet on Jan. 20.

    He also said it was important that Turkey used the Syrian air space as a result of diplomatic efforts.

    CHP Vice Chairman and spokesman Bulent Tezcan similarly voiced the party's support for the operation on Jan. 21 during a press conference organized at the party headquarters in Ankara.

    "Our glorious army has initiated an important operation. Our support is full. We stand behind this operation as the nation and will continue to do so," Tezcan said.

    "The most important thing to keep in mind at the end of this process is that Syria should have territorial integrity. A strategic political solution on Syria should be focused on. We should stand behind the sovereignty of Syria and territorial integrity," he added.

    "It is our biggest wish that the Olive Branch Operation, which was launched by our glorious army, achieves its target in the shortest time possible and our soldiers come back home without harm," Tezcan had written in an earlier message posted on Twitter on Jan. 21.

    The MHP has also voiced support for the Afrin operation. "There is no other way to clear our borders from terror," MHP leader Bahceli told reporters on Jan. 21 at a news conference in Ankara's Kizilcahamam district, describing the operation as a "national cause."

    "The operational partner of the United States should be rooted out. The PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party], the PYD [Kurdish Democratic Union Party], and the YPG, which are disguised as the Syrian Democratic Forces should be cleared from our borders," Bahceli said.

    IYI Party leader Meral Aksener also voiced support for the operation. "Our full prayers are with our glorious army and heroic soldiers in the Afrin operation. May God ensure that this operation is completed without any loss of lives and may our soldiers be full of power and strength. May God protect them," Aksener tweeted late on Jan. 20.

    However, Serpil Kemalbay, the co-chair of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), slammed the operation, describing it as the "start of an invasion" of Afrin.

    Kemalbay also called on the public to "show their democratic reactions" against the operation during a press conference at the party headquarters in Ankara on Jan. 20.

    In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted the HDP for "calling people to the streets."

    "Just as we are rooting those in the mountains out of their caves, we will not let you take to the streets," Erdogan said in a speech in the western province of Bursa on Jan. 21.

    "They are holding a congress in [the southeastern province of] Diyarbakir. But they have not found anybody to join them," he added.

    "You are being followed. Wherever you take to the streets, our security forces will be at your throat. You can't do whatever you want. With a local and national approach we are conducting an operation against all those who are attacking our country's borders, but you will hit us from within? Is that so? Just as we rooted out those in the mountains from their caves; we will never leave these streets to your own discretion," Erdogan said.

    Meanwhile, the country's leading business association, the Turkish Business and Industry Association (TUSIAD), also voiced full support for the military operation.

    "Our hearts are with the Turkish Armed Forces in our rightful fight against terror elements," association head Erol Bilecik said in a written statement on Jan. 21.

    [13] Azerbaijan backs Turkey's operation in Syria's Afrin

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.01.18 broadcast that Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Afrin region of Syria aims to secure Turkey's border and remove terror threats, Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry's spokesman said on Sunday.

    Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Hikmet Hajiyev said Azerbaijan condemned all kinds of terrorism and voiced support for international efforts to counter them.

    "The operation aims to secure Turkey's border, remove the terror threat and protect the civilians in the region," Hajiyev said.

    The fight against terrorism was needed to attain international and regional peace, he added.

    "Turkey has faced terror attacks many times and a lot of lives were lost during these attacks. Azerbaijan understands Turkey's concerns?," Hajiyev said.

    Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh elements from Afrin.

    According to Turkish General Staff, 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.

    The operation was being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council's decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect to Syria's territorial integrity, it added.

    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.


    (AK / AM)

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