International relations and security experts from Turkey warned against provocations and global smear campaigns targeting Turkey’s Syria operation.
On Friday, Turkey targeted terrorists under the right of self-defense when they attacked a southeastern Turkish border post in Sanliurfa from almost one kilometer (0.6 mile) southwest of the U.S. observation point in Syria.
Turkey’s move was made to look like an attack of the U.S. observation post.
Turkey’s National Defense Ministry rejected claims that the Turkish army targeted a U.S. observation post east of the Euphrates in northern Syria amid its counter-terror operation.
“It is out of the question that any fire targeted the U.S. observation post,” it said in a written statement.
Experts warned that there is a psychological operation to pit Turkey against the U.S.
Cagri Erhan, the head of Altinbas University in Istanbul, underlined that PKK/YPG terrorists carried out a cross-border attack on Turkey from the southwest of Syria where the U.S. observation post is located.
“There is only one reason [for PKK/YPG terrorists] to do this. They are trying to paint the incident as if Turkey targeted the U.S. observation post,” he asserted.
“Americans need to be very sensitive at this point. This is an operation launched after an agreement between the U.S. and Turkey.
“The U.S. said that all its troops had withdrawn from the operation area, but now the U.S. should stay inside that operation area and prevent the YPG/PKK from attacking the places for which they shared coordinates with the Turks,” Erhan said.
Calling it “a total provocation”, he said that the U.S. side stated that there was no attack targeting itself.
Mesut Hakki Casin, a law professor in Istanbul’s Yeditepe University, told Anadolu Agency Turkey has given notice to airmen in the region as part of Operation Peace Spring, therefore there should be no American soldier or paramilitary forces in the region.
“If Turkey wanted to shoot the U.S. base it would, but Turkey is not the enemy of the U.S., first of all they are NATO members and these sabotages, for me, are made to curb the Turkish Armed Forces,” Casin said.
Casin recalled that there is a headquarter in Akcakale — a southeastern border district of Turkey’s Sanliurfa — within the secure zone, stationed in line with the bilateral agreement between Turkey and the U.S. which has a military staff there at the level of general.
He said that it is against the international law that there is U.S. military staff in the region.
On the provocative attempts to destroy Turkey-U.S. relations, Casin said: “Somebody wants the two NATO member states to fire at each other.
“The biggest danger here is the anti-tank weapons given to the YPG/PKK and the mercenary dressed in the clothes of the terror group, because we know that the PKK does not have a regular army discipline to use these weapons,” Casin said.
Also addressing Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks that “Israel is ready to spread humanitarian aid to the Kurdish people,” Casin questioned: “I wonder what he meant by this humanitarian aid? Will he give them weapons?”
Security policy expert Mete Yarar also warned against campaigns to smear Turkey’s anti-terror operation in Syria.
He asserted that those who want to cripple the operation take two main manipulative actions.
Yarar said they will bring the U.S. and Turkey face to face and show this event as a Turkish-Kurdish conflict.
They also try to portray it as if Turkey is deliberately attacking the U.S., Yarar added.
Abdullah Agar, a terrorism and security expert, said that a key global news agency reported that the U.S. soldiers were patrolling Tal Abyad, a northern border town of Syria, when in fact there is no U.S. presence in the region.
Agar said former U.S. Special Representative Brett McGurk tweeted immediately after Friday’s incident that Turkey targeted the area deliberately.
“Obviously, there are some people who want to bring the U.S. and Turkey face to face,” he said.
Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.