Erdogan: It is not in our blood to attack civilians, but in yours

Aynur Ekiz & Baris Gundogan

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said a global anti-Turkey propaganda based on lies would not be successful.

“Launching of a worldwide war of propaganda, based on lies, slander and distortion, by those who cannot deal with Turkey on the ground, will not work,” Erdogan said during a provincial congress by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in the southern province of Kahramanmaras.

Supporters of PYD/PKK are involved in a smear campaign against Turkey’s ongoing counter-terror operation in Syria through the use of crude photo manipulation and misrepresentation. Social media accounts linked to the terrorist group post morphed photos which are unrelated to the ongoing operation and have actually been taken at another place and time.

“Those who see us as yesterday’s Turkey, and treat us in this manner, have begun to gradually realize the truth,” Erdogan said.

On Jan. 20, Turkey laun-ched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UNSC resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria’s territorial integrity, it said.

The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and that “utmost care” was being taken to not harm civilians.

Erdogan rejected claims that civilians were being targeted during the operation.

“It is not in our blood to attack civilians, but in yours,” he said. He said the country was determined to have a global voice on a range of issues, from economy to democracy. Turkey’s revival has motivated several communities in the region and across the world, he added. Criticizing former colonialists and their “voluntary” slaves, he said eradicating terrorism was crucial to prevent a retreat to colonialism. (AA)