By Emin Ileri
A senior journalist working for Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency slammed Western media Friday for being biased in its stories on Turkish cross-border anti-terror operations.
"During Operation Olive Branch, the Western media filed stories after regarding the PKK terrorist organization’s disinformation as facts, without consulting Turkey, and the basic and universal principles of journalism were overruled for the PKK/YPG terrorist organization," Hasan Oymez, editorial director of the Turkey News Department at Anadolu Agency, said at a forum in Istanbul titled 'Changing Threats, International Terrorism and Hybrid Warfare'.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to free the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists.
On March 18, Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army liberated Afrin’s city center.
Oymez put the blame on Western media, as they have done stories without including Turkish opinions and the news was filed as if the claims of the PKK were true.
"They didn't put out any corrections after their stories had been revealed as lies. The Western media doesn't have the right to tutor Turkish journalists.”
Oymez emphasized that the Western media doesn’t view the PKK as a terrorist organization even though it has been targeting the Turkish army and civil servants for at least 30 years.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people.
Oymez noted that the PKK terror group has been operating freely in European countries and holding rallies despite warnings from Turkey, and the Western media looks favorably on the PKK and is publishing stories under the guise of liberalism.
"Even though Turkey obviously stated that Operation Olive Branch had no aim to invade Syria and its goal was to free Afrin of PKK terrorists and it wasn't staged against Kurds, the Western media published stories, opinions
"They published stories based on disinformation from the PKK and its partisans fabricated on social media as if it was true. And these are the leading media organs of the West such as The Washington Post, The Financial Times, the Daily Mirror and The Guardian," he said, adding that Anadolu Agency monitored and analyzed some pro-PKK social media accounts and websites in order to refute PKK lies.
Oymez also said the Western media wanted to portray Turkey as if it was impeding the fight against Daesh, but Turkey is among the countries which have suffered a lot from Daesh terror.
"Now roughly 1,000 Daesh terrorists are in Turkish prisons. In Operation Euphrates Shield, at least 3,000 Daesh terrorists were killed," he said, adding Turkey struck the greatest blow against Daesh, but at the same time, the country suffered the most from Daesh terror.
Operation Euphrates Shield, a Turkish cross-border anti-terror operation that began in August 2016 and ended in March 2017, eliminated the terrorist threat along the Turkish border in the northern Syrian regions of Jarabulus, Al-Rai, Al-Bab and Azaz with the use of the Free Syrian Army, which was backed by Turkish artillery and air cover.
To date, at least 319 people have lost their lives in Daesh terrorist attacks in Turkey, where the terror organization has targeted civilians in suicide bombings as well as rocket and gun attacks.
The attacks included the twin suicide bombings of October 2015, which saw 107 killed outside Ankara's main train station; a suicide bombing that killed 32 in southeastern Suruc in Sanliurfa province; the Reina nightclub massacre in 2017 in Istanbul on New Year's Eve that killed 39; the targeting of a wedding in Gaziantep in August 2016 by a child suicide bomber who killed 57, many of them children; and a bomb-and-gun attack on Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport in June 2016 that killed 47 people.
Oymez also said Western countries left Turkey alone in its fight against terrorism, but besides fighting against terrorist groups, they should also regard the PKK as a terrorist organization and prevent it from holding rallies and spreading propaganda freely in Western countries.
He added that the Western media also backed many coups in Turkey as well as the defeated coup of July 15, 2016.
"After the July 15 coup had been defeated, they did stories because they worried about the process of Turkey's fight against the putschists. It was not the first time that the Western media was against Turkey," he added.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police