Why did Turkey launch an op in Syria’s Afrin? Did we only clash with PKK terrorists? If we hadn't shut the gate then, they would've destroyed Hatay today... This region is our destiny. Parting would be death… - İBRAHIM KARAGÜL

Why did Turkey launch an op in Syria’s Afrin? Did we only clash with PKK terrorists? If we hadn't shut the gate then, they would've destroyed Hatay today... This region is our destiny. Parting would be death…

Turkey did not clash with just the Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Afrin a year ago. It fought against the countries in the region hiding behind this organization, the U.S., Israel and their allies, which are trying to siege Anatolia through this organization.

The Afrin intervention was not a fight against terrorism, it was a fight against a foreign invasion, a foreign threat. It was a fight to guarantee Turkey's future. In this sense, there was a plan much beyond eliminating a threat that amassed in Afrin, on Syrian territory.

This plan was a great geography design that was finely planned, each stage being pawned off with a different excuse. What they wanted to achieve through the invasion of Iraq, the Syrian war, and eroding Turkey's borders was a new map of the region.

From the Iranian border to the Mediterranean: This time we are going to spoil the century-old game

Those who imposed what we experienced a century ago on us all over again wanted to turn all our weaknesses and identities into the language of conflict and drag us into a deep pit again to realize a major destruction. There was no country, including Turkey, for which they did not draw new maps and make plans to divide.

Turkey's intervention on Afrin was the best response to and resistance against those who want to destroy the region and Anatolia through Daesh and the PKK. It was a showdown, a geopolitical intervention much beyond the fight against terrorism. It was one of the heaviest blows on those map plans.

It was a very heavy blow on the map they shaped from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean. The corridor's west gate and the Mediterranean gate were closed, resetting all plans.

If we hadn't closed that gate, they would've destroyed Hatay today

Had that gate not been closed a year ago, we would have been discussing the province of Hatay today and it would have been ravaged by terrorism. Those knocking on Turkey's door today to prevent the intervention east of the Euphrates River in Syria, those making plan after plan, and those joining this operation from the inside of the country, would have then been spending all their time on Hatay, bringing proposal on top of proposal.

We would have been condemned to mental stagnation, with extraordinary sensitivity and confusion formed in turkey. Turkey would have even been prevented from even taking up a position. Perhaps we would have been face-to-face with social unrest.

Because Hatay was the sole obstacle in front of the "map." Once everything was over, all organizations and forces were going to amass there. Then we wouldn’t even have an option or a word to say for the east of the Euphrates.

The siege proceeds unencumbered, but the 'savior mind' is on the battlefield

Daesh was repelled from part of our border with the Euphrates Shield, and the PKK with the Afrin intervention. However, this organization and the forces behind it are continuing to strengthen the hundreds-of-kilometers-long "Turkey front." The siege is proceeding unencumbered. The West Gate has been closed, but the threat on the Iranian border is ongoing.

If these operations had not been conducted, we would have been trying to deal with diplomatic twists and plots for both regions, with no result. Had those two operations not been launched, Turkey would have been struggling today in great desperation, completely locked up and backed into a corner.

This was the "savior mind" behind the intervention on Afrin that started on Jan. 20, 2018. The mind regarding the region is also going to be like this from now on. The plan aimed at the east of the Euphrates is similar too. It is going to be a country's efforts to save itself and its region against all the regional and global destruction plans. It is going to be the fight to save not only the present but the future. What we encountered in the first part of the 20th century offers us all the intellect and foresight we need.

We were in Afrin that day: The FSA said, 'Let's go all the way into the Iraqi border'

We were in Afrin the day the intervention ended. Clashes had just ended. You would hear gun shots ricocheting everywhere. We saw traces of the clash throughout the way. I knew that it was a very serious map plan that was negated there, rather than a fight against terrorism; I knew we had reversed a regional equilibrium. I wanted to witness this. As I was walking around Afrin, probably the only person wearing a suit there that day, this is what I thought.

We were viewing the city from a hilltop outside the city. We were talking with Free Syrian Army (FSA) leaders who joined the operation together with the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF). They had said, "Let Turkey clear the way and make a decision so we can go all the way into the Iraqi border. Their intention was to completely purge northern Syria and the south of Turkey of terror elements. They knew very well that the U.S. and its allies are implementing a "permanent" invasion plan in this zone through the PKK and Daesh.

Preparations were made for state-to-state war

We saw the weapons buildups, arsenals in Afrin. This was in no way an organization or terror issue. There were enough buildups to arm military units consisting of thousands. NATO-standard preparations were made, with trucks able to go underground. All plans were preparations for a "state to state war." We personally witnessed this.

We stayed in Afrin. We have been watching the U.S.'s Manbij lies ever since that day. The lies that started during former U.S. President Barack Obama's administration is continuing with current U.S. President Donald Trump's "withdrawal" decision. We should know that we can get nowhere, that the east of the Euphrates issue can never be solved this way. If we had not conducted the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations, we could not have even gotten this far. Because they have been feeding us the same lies since the 1991 Gulf War, and they are going to continue with the same lies.

Turkey cannot solve any internal problem, problems at its borders and in its region through foreign initiatives. That era is over. The situation the world and region are in has brought forth new methods. If we fall behind on these, if we fall asleep or postpone, we will be destroyed. We are in a period in which "force spoils the game." We are in a period in which "You are as strong as the extent to which your arm reaches." That is exactly what is happening. We all see this.

This region is our destiny; it is not land, trees or oil. Separation is death, you know this!

Some things are not about internal politics. Some things are fatal and not diplomatic. They last for centuries; they are permanent and real. They are the reality of the country, nation, history and the region. No issue in that zone is an ethnic matter. There is a multinational invasion and this invasion is set to destroy the whole region and Turkey. Whoever is taking action with that invasion is a "foreign threat," a "foreign element."

Yes, our region is our destiny. But that destiny is not land, water, trees, minerals, or oil alone. People, communities are also connected to one another. Feelings and the past and present are linked to one another. Your fates join and you cannot abandon it. Separation is death, you know this. We experienced all of this in the first half of the 20th century. In order to avoid the same experience, to avoid witnessing those fatal results ever again, to avoid having to defend Anatolia again, we cannot leave this fate to the initiative of others.

Wishing mercy upon our Afrin martyrs...

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