Demystifying Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring

The session ‘Demystifying Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring’ discussed Turkey’s recent military operation to eliminate the terrorist threat from the PKK/YPG in Northeast Syria.

The keynote speaker, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, explained Turkey’s policy towards Syria and what Turkey wants in the country. FM Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey believes that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and strongly supports the political process. Çavuşoğlu also added that as one of the guarantors of the Astana peace talks, Turkey will continue its commitment to reach a political settlement in Syria.

Çavuşoğlu discussed all the aspects of the Operation Peace Spring including why the operation was launched and what Turkey is trying to achieve through the operation. Çavuşoğlu stressed that the PKK/YPG terrorist organisation has been trying to establish a de facto state in North-eastern Syria. As a result, the PKK/YPG has increased its attacks on Turkey and in Syria. It is in this context that Turkey launched ‘Operation Peace Spring’ to eliminate the threat of PKK/YPG, to guarantee Syria’s territorial integrity and ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees who escaped not only Daesh and the Syrian Regime, but also the PKK/YPG in Northeast Syria.

FM Çavuşoğlu lastly talked about the planned safe zone agreed with the US and its importance for peace and stability in Syria. FM Çavuşoğlu explained that as a result of the agreement with the US, Turkey agreed to pause its operation until the PKK/YPG fully completes its withdrawal from Northeast Syria and abandons the heavy weapons supplied by the US. Çavuşoğlu explained that following the withdrawal, Turkey plans to establish a safe zone in northern Syria so the displaced Syrians can return to their country if they choose.