Turkish Troops Enter Syria

On Tuesday evening, the Turkish army reportedly entered Syrian territory near Jarablus. While ostensibly aimed at liberating the city from Daesh, the operation may have more to do with keeping Kurdish People’s Protection Units away from the Turkish border.

Sputnik – Middle East

According to information received by Sputnik Brazil, Turkey has been amassing military units along the Syrian border. The number of troops is estimated to be around 1,000.The troops have reportedly crossed into Aleppo province, according to Hawar News, along with military vehicles, heavy equipment, and mine detection gear to dismantle minefields installed by Daesh, also known as IS/Islamic State.

Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the global coalition would take action against Daesh in Jarablus. Erdogan also made mention of media reports of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) Westward push toward the Turkish border.

The operation is ostensibly aimed at combatting Daesh, who have fortified Jarablus. But sources tell Sputnik that Ankara may be more interested in preventing the YPG from gaining a foothold in a region of strategic importance. Hawar also reports that the Turkish troops have not engaged Daesh militants in the area, and that members of the terrorist organization have remained unresponsive to the Turkish presence.

Turkey has long been fearful of YPG’s presence along its border, and has warned the group that any advance west of the Euphrates could result in a military response.

The Turkish government has also been engaged in security operations against Kurdish communities inside the country since July. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that those operations – which have left hundreds dead, including civilians – are nearing an end, but political activist Taylor Goel has told Sputnik that the peace process is more about theatrics.

“Solving the Kurdish problem has nothing to do with peace. It is a peace process in name only, and a scapegoat for the ruling party,” Goel said.

“The current peace process only serves to legitimize the actions of AKP [the Justice and Development Party]. The government may stop its campaign, but it’s important to remember that this is a peace process in name only.”

The Erdogan administration has also cracked down on academics calling for an end to Ankara’s brutal treatment of the nation’s Kurdish population. Last week, 18 academics were arrested on charges of “terrorist propaganda” after signing a petition expressing their concerns.

“President Erdogan’s actions demonstrate that the criticisms being made by academics are accurate,” political activist Kevin Zeese told Sputnik. “He wants to suppress the truth and is abusing his power trying to quash legitimate political discourse.”

‘Peace Process in Name Only’: True Reason Behind Turkey’s Kurdish Crackdown

A resident walks on the rubble of a destroyed house in the mostly-Kurdish town of Silopi, in southeastern Turkey.

While the Turkish government has claimed that its campaign against Kurdish militants is nearing an end, an activist speaking to Sputnik explains how President Recep Erdogan’s race war against the Kurds was never anything more than political opportunism.

“Solving the Kurdish problem has nothing to do with peace,” political activist Taylor Goel tells Sputnik. “It is a peace process in name only, and a scapegoat for the ruling party.”

As Goel explains, the roots of the most recent military campaign against Kurdish militants in southeastern Turkey can be traced to last June, when the leading Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost parliamentary elections.

The following month, Erdogan’s government began vilifying the Kurds, launching attacks on Kurdish forces in northern Iraq and conducting raids against opposition figures within Turkey.

“This was done to secure its [the AKP] place,” Goel says.

The strategy appears to have worked. In November, the AKP regained control of parliament following general elections. It is only after having achieved its goals that the Turkish government is willing to settle on an agreement to deescalate tensions.

“The current peace process only serves to legitimize the actions of AKP,” Goel says. “The government may stop its campaign, but it’s important to remember that this is a peace process in name only.”

While an end to a campaign that has killed hundreds, including civilians, is undeniably welcome, Goel points out that true peace can only come when Turkey’s workers come together to put an end to the “rule of the bourgeoisie.”

“The true hope of long-lasting peace in Turkey…can only come if Turkish and Kurdish workers come together to overcome this system that depends on the exploitation of the working class as a whole.”

On Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that the government’s military campaign in Turkey’s Kurdish region was nearing an end.

“The process is to a large extent completed,” he told reporters. “It won’t be like with old operations, withdrawing after streets are cleansed. There will be a more orderly security presence. The goal is to build a public order…in which no illegal structure can take control of any streets.”

Davutoglu stressed that the city of Silopi, which has seen some of the worst violence, will remain under a strict curfew. This will remain “in place for some time until we are sure the residents’ security is guaranteed.”

According to estimates by the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) of Turkey, roughly 100 civilians have been killed during the conflict.

On Monday, Turkish forces launched mortar attacks on the Cizre district of Sirnak. The incident destroyed a number of homes and killed a civilian.
A man holding an infant stands on the balcony of a damaged house, after curfew ended in the southeastern Turkish town of Silopi on January 19, 2016

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