Updated: Oct 9, 2022
The olive branch is a symbol of peace or victory deriving from the customs of ancient Greece and found in most cultures of the Mediterranean basin.It became associated with peace in modern Europe and is also used in the Arab world.
"Until the last terrorist is neutralized in Syria and the country is safe for its real owners, we will continue our operations there" - President Erdoğan Jan 2018.
When following Turkish media, one would be excused for believing that with the attack on Afrin the country is aiming to eliminate what — judging from the coverage of pro-government TV channels and newspapers — can only be considered an existential threat to the longevity of the Turkish republic.
The invasion of the predominantly Kurdish and self-governed Afrin canton in northwestern Syria is presented by Turkey’s state-driven propaganda machine as a heroic act of self-defense and a historic mission to re-establish the country’s sphere of influence in the region.
In reality, Turkey’s attack on Afrin is nothing less than a wanton act of aggression; an illegal invasion of a neighboring country backed by a military strategy based upon war crimes, a dangerous ploy that risks destabilizing the region’s security even further, and the umpteenth expression of the Turkish state’s deep-seated, century-old hatred of the Kurdish people.
While Turkey has claimed to have launched the operation to protect its borders and to combat terrorism, the so-called “terrorists” in this narrative are none less than the internationally acclaimed fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — led by the Kurdish Women’s and People’s Defense Forces (YPJ and YPG) — who have played a key role in combating the jihadist militants of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.
For several years, when ISIS was controlling large swaths of territory in northern Syria, including long stretches of the border region with Turkey, Ankara seemed scarcely bothered by the fascist movement setting up shop on its doorstep.
President Erdoğan even seemed to gloat over the possibility that the Kurdish town of Kobane would fall in ISIS’ hands back in 2014 — a potential disaster that was only averted by the resistance of the men of women of the town.
For the Turkish state, Kurdish attempts at democratic self-governance, whether at home or abroad, are viewed as a threat to the republic and an insult to the Turkish nation, and need to be dealt with in a ruthless and uncompromising manner.
Socio-political developments at home and geopolitical developments in the region have created an opportunity for Turkey to lash out at the Kurds in Syria.
The question is whether Turkey will triumph or tremble when faced with the resistance of the Kurds and their allies defending the cities, towns and villages that are home to the democratic revolution President Erdoğan fears so much.