In a meeting with a group of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies, National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli says, “We are grateful to the MİT [National Intelligence Organization].”
The MİT is the invisible hero of the Afrin operation.
Because the majority of the target coordinates in the air and ground operations, currently in its 54th day, are provided by the MİT.
The regions where the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG) terrorists are positioned, arsenals, shelters are all first detected using human and electronic intelligence and marked with lasers, and are then hit by air and ground elements.
When the statement, “The intelligence department has good command of the Syria file,” made by an influential name in civic politics, is added to the defense minister’s “We are grateful” comment, the matter becomes clearer.
We can also say that the coordination between Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar and MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan allows for “effective exchange” between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the MİT.
The MİT has a second contribution to the Olive Branch operation: To support the administration and coordination of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighting in the front alongside the TAF.
It’s not an easy task.
We are talking about a 60-stong FSA force that was formed as the result of the “train-and-equip program” carried out in cooperation with the U.S. a few years ago, and after the “comedy” in which they were arrested by Daesh after crossing into Syria, Turkey formed a new FSA force of thousands of warriors on its own.
It must not have been easy to manage the morale and motivation of these groups which the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) insulted in the days the Afrin operation started, calling them “freebooters.”
Manbij is done, but what about after it?
Let’s talk about the “results” of the meeting, which first round was held in Washington, with the U.S. on Syria.
Reports on the outcomes of the meeting between Turkish and U.S. officials have started to take place in the media.
Washington Post, which received good news from administrative sources, published an article saying, “the U.S. will withdraw the Kurds from the Syrian town of Manbij and relocate them east of the Euphrates River as Turkey wants.”
This report may be viewed as one of the concrete results of the meeting in Washington.
The statements Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made to journalists yesterday also overlap with the contents of this article.
Çavuşoğlu summarized the Manbij consensus that resulted from the commission meetings in Washington as follows:
“Once the YPG withdraws from Manbij, the security there will be provided by Turkish and U.S. troops. The YPG’s withdrawal will be overseen by both countries.”
It is a good time to share the short story of Manbij.
We look at the matter from this view:
The U.S., by enabling the PKK/YPG to capture Manbij, had crossed over to the west of the Euphrates and had taken the first steps to establishing a “PKK state” on Turkey’s southern border.
Had everything progressed as they wanted, Manbij and Afrin would have been merged and this project would have been complete.
There wasn’t much left for its completion anyway.
There was only a 7 to 8-kilometer distance left for Manbij to join Afrin on Aug. 24, 2016, the day the Euphrates Shield operation had started.
But when Turkey took action, the project to move the PKK state to the west of the Euphrates failed.
The submissive minds, who think everything that the U.S. says and wants will happen, may engrave this information on their minds and carry it with them forever.
I have to add here that the imposition, “Take Manbij and leave the rest,” which is likely to be encountered in the upcoming period, has and will have no response in Ankara.
How, you ask?
We know that everybody who makes a statement on these topics, primarily President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, always says – in a common language: “First Manbij, then the east of Euphrates.”
Everybody knows that the PKK threat in the east of Euphrates is a lot greater compared to the west in terms of Turkey’s security.
The U.S. gave 4,900 truckloads of weapons to the PKK in this region.
In the event that these weapons find a suitable ground in the future, the “will” that they will be used against Turkey remains as it is.
Where this will lead Washington to is not a tactical but a strategic choice between its allies.
Something Çavuşoğlu said in his statement yesterday is important. If it is implemented as agreed, we can consider this a strategic orientation, not a tactical one.
That statement was:
“We are first going to apply this model in Manbij and then take it to the other areas. This also applies to both Raqqa and the areas under YPG control in the east of the Euphrates.”
Thus, Turkey is telling the U.S., “Give up the PKK, we are here.”
The minister’s statement signals that the will of the U.S. Department of State also seems to have gotten the message.
But there is no idea what the Pentagon, which is holding onto the armed men, will say.
We have in front of us an interlocutor who has a smile on one cheek and the mark of anger on the other, and hence, which leaves us with no real answer to the question: “What is he saying now?”