Column: Al-Bab is a great victory. So what is this silence? Who silenced you?

İbrahim KaragülBY: İbrahim Karagül*

Turkey has won an absolute victory in al-Bab and left a deep mark on the history of fighting terrorism. Despite those who market the fight against Daesh as a global security plan suddenly withdrawing their support once Turkey came into the picture, leaving our country alone, despite their betrayals and sabotage, Turkey has dealt the heaviest blow to Daesh so far.

While the Mosul show jointly carried out by the U.S., Iraq and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has become a laughing stock, while coalition and local powers have never been able to make any progress against Daesh, the district (Al-Bab) fell on the 177th day of Operation Euphrates Shield. For the first time, the organization lost one of its most important positions and its defense is weakened. In other words, it was defeated and withdrew, which is a strong example that suggests it could be made to withdraw further.

Why do you think Turkish and media around the world remained silent?

Have you noticed? Almost nobody is talking about this achievement by Turkey. There is silence in the country and outside, a lack in Turkish media, and calm in media around the world.

We have not seen any in-depth analyses in our media. We have not heard any strong words or read articles on what this means, what might happen afterward and the value of Operation Euphrates Shield and the success in al-Bab. It seems like nobody is pleased with what happened and that some are trying to hide this victory.

When the victory is Turkey’s, when success comes from Turkish security units, jealousy and efforts to make forget, overshadow or hide it become prevalent. It seems like those who had an expectation from the July 15 coup attempt are still carrying out a secret operation against Turkey.

Its seems like they were defeated in al-Bab, not Daesh

It seems like they were the ones who were defeated in al-Bab and not Daesh. Those who were disturbed by the struggle crushing the PKK in the southeast after the June 1 elections seem like they are disturbed by the victory in al-Bab as well.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which is carrying out operations to have Turkey declared a “country that supports terrorism,” and those who are carrying on this calm, silence and overshadowing seem to be directed from the same centers. It seems like the political mind, leadership and social solidarity that foiled the coup attempt, bringing the world’s biggest terrorist organization down to its knees and derailing the operation carried out on Turkey through Daesh, has some concerned.

Those who raised hell for Kobani, where are you?

Those who raised hell for Kobani (Ayn al-Arab), those who pushed the government into a corner, caused public resentment, stirred the country and allowed the PKK to dominate the region amid all this noise, remember those days?

They turned our country, people, newspapers and television channels into media outlets for the PKK. Remember how Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani’s troops passed through Turkey, showing off. They offered terror the greatest opportunity in history through this scenario.

The Kobani incident was one of the biggest traps set against our country. The calamities we are experiencing now were planned back then. Hence, those who were writing articles then were also involved in this great betrayal. I see that none of those who were writing or speaking on television back then are writing a single line or making a single statement on television about the victory in al-Bab.

They would write victory articles if it was taken by the PKK, not Turkey

If it was the PKK’s Syrian offshoot Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Protection Units (YPG) that had entered al-Bab as opposed to Turkey, they would have sung its praises, shown off, written hundreds of articles in newspaper columns and shaped public opinion.

The same quietness is similarly, present in the Western media. Take a look at media in the U.S. and Europe, there is nothing to find on Turkey’s victory. While no “ally” that claimed that Turkey supports Daesh and those who paved the way for foreign fighters to go to Daesh from their airports supported the operation, they have become buried in deep silence after Turkey’s victory.

It is not silence in the West, it is disappointment

We call it silence, but it should be perceived as disappointment. They thought they would get Turkey involved in the Daesh trouble and then watch from the sidelines, applaud Turkey’s helplessness and carry out other plans through this scenario.

As Ankara continued to deal with this organization, they were going to carry out a joint operation with the PKK-affiliate PYD, continue their map work for Syria and put an end to the “terror corridor”.

Because Turkey would fail, because Daesh was backed by big states, they thought Ankara would be dependent on them and then they would bring other negotiations to the market and push us into the corner once more.

They fought against Turkey, not Daesh

Neither NATO, nor the EU nor the U.S. backed Turkey. Those who did not give support were also incredibly disturbed by the victory. While Turkey was fighting Daesh, they were flirting with the PKK/PYD. They were hitting Turkey from behind, trying to entrap it. They had started a “secret fight against Turkey” in the “guise of fighting Daesh.”

Do you think all the quietness, belittling, ignoring and fuss to hide are unrelated? Starting a country defense outside the borders with Euphrates Shield, which was launched on Aug. 24, 2016, before overcoming the heavy trauma of July 15 was already a tough task. Turkey was making its most serious geopolitical move since the Cyprus operation. This country would no longer be protected from the zero point of the border. Therefore, it would need to go all the way to the source of the threat. It should be eliminated there, preventing the war from moving into our home.

Afrin, Manbij, Tal Abyad, Kobani must be cleared

That corridor aimed at sieging and closing in on our country had to be prevented, those who were erecting thick walls between Turkey and the Muslim and Arab world had to be prevented. And indeed, they were. The most dangerous siege operation in our history was stopped. We got to the depths of al-Bab.

It will not stop at this. It should not and it cannot. The operation must continue to the east and west. Afrin, Manbij, Tal Abyad and Kobani must certainly be purged of the PKK/PYD. This is a matter that involves Turkey’s future. It is not an ethnic matter, it is a matter of preventing the country from being sieged, from being suffocated in Anatolia.

From the Iranian border to the Mediterranean

This is a matter of geography for us, a matter of preventing the deep enmities that they want to sow between nations. Daesh and the PKK/PYD outside and FETÖ on the inside are elements – tasked with the same aim, controlled by the same centers – of a big scenario directly targeting Turkey. This country is face to face with truths that it cannot leave to alliance initiatives.

Regardless of what negotiations the Raqqa operation becomes subject to, what is essential for us is to fight with our own corridor plans against those planning an anti-Turkey corridor from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean, and completely clear those areas. If we do not do this, the day will come when they carry the war into Turkey. They tried this on July 15, 2016, and if they find the chance, they will try again.

To those who ask what we are doing in al-Bab

A tough fight was put up. Action was taken with patience. Plans were made to achieve the best result with the lowest losses. We had martyrs and some were injured. It is continuing to happen. Only yesterday, two of our soldiers were killed as martyrs. Those who ask what we are doing in al-Bab either understand nothing about this country’s defense or have chosen to become a mouthpiece for another operation.

If your defense has fallen back as far as your borders, then you will never be able keep that country standing. This is a fact known by all. Therefore, it means that those who confuse with such ridiculous claims have a different agenda on the inside. Turkey is being defended there. Istanbul, Ankara, Sivas, Diyarbakır, Urfa are being defended, do you still not understand?

FETÖ-PKK/PYD ‘cryptos’ are conducting a media operation

I am celebrating this victory. I see, understand and know what it means, what it will signify in the future of our country. I see President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statements, words and thoughts on what will follow al-Bab as a strong hope against this silence and silencing.

Turkey knows both its direction and way. Despite the media and public opinion operations by the FETÖ and PKK/PYD “cryptos”, this path will be walked and ultimate victory will be achieved.

Nobody can overshadow this victory.


*Ibrahim Karagül is a Turkish writer and journalist. He is the editor-in-chief of Turkish Yeni Şafak newspaper.

(Published in Yeni Şafak Turkish newspaper on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017)