World, Middle East

Turkey's grounds for Afrin operation 'sufficient'

YPG/PKK is not innocent, Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra tells parliament

Meryem Göktaş   | 23.01.2018
Turkey's grounds for Afrin operation 'sufficient' Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra

Ankara

By Abdullah Asiran

THE HAGUE

Turkey has sufficient grounds for self-defense since the country faced attacks, Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra said on Tuesday.

Zijlstra made the remarks in the Dutch parliament when he was asked about the Turkish Armed Forces' ongoing Operation Olive Branch, which started on Saturday to remove the PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

Referring to the right of self-defence under international law and Article 51 of the UN Charter, Zijlstra said there were “clear attacks” against Turkey which gave the country “sufficient grounds” to defend itself.

““The YPG is not innocent.The Dutch government never supported the YPG," he said.

"There are strong links between the YPG and the PKK. The PKK is a terrorist organization, both in the Netherlands and in Europe.

“This is not a Turkish-Kurdish conflict, nor should it be in the Netherlands."

On Monday night, supporters of the PYD/PKK terrorist organization attacked a mosque in the Netherlands.

The windows of the Geylani Mosque in Rotterdam, which is run by the Geylani Foundation, were broken and the walls were vandalized with slogans related to the terrorist organization.

The foreign minister said the Dutch government had concerns related to the operation launched in Afrin.

“We are making the necessary calls with Turkey. However, Turkey’s move is not against the international struggle and the law. In this case it would not be right to judge the operation,” he said.

According to Turkish General Staff, the operation in Syria's Afrin aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

The operation is 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 for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being given to not harm any civilians.

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.


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