Turkey’s Strategic Reasoning behind Operation Olive Branch

What is the strategic reasoning behind Turkey’s military operation against the PKK in the Afrin region? What does Turkey’s game plan mean for the region? What are the implications of Turkey’s military operation for the future of the Turkey-U.S.-Russia triangle?

Following Operation Euphrates Shield (OES), Turkey added a new dimension to its ongoing military activity in Syria in order to curb the PKK’s influence in northern Syria and to “de-territorialize” it in the medium term in the rest of the Syrian territory. With the advent of the Afrin operation, Turkey’s military activity has spread to a wider geographical area in the western bank of the Euphrates. The operation, which had been in the preparation phase for a long time, started on October 20 with the offensive phase, shortly after President Erdoğan’s statement with strong references to the UNSC’s decisions with regards to war on terror and the ‘self-defense’ element in Article 51 of the UN Charter.

It is known that Turkey has been eager to carry out a large-scale military operation against the PKK/ YPG terror elements in northern Syria in order to prevent their territorial control along its Syrian border. The strategic reasoning behind Turkey’s military operation against the PKK presence in Afrin is to prevent terrorist attacks against Turkish territory, to protect border security, and to secure Syrian territorial integrity…

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