Turks react to US support for Kurds in Syria

Operation Olive Branch in northern Syria started five days ago. The Afrin region became a possible hotbed for full-scale conflict between Turkish troops aided by the armed fighters of the Free Syrian Army and the U.S.-backed Kurdish units which had been dominating the area. The operation started with shelling and airstrikes by the Turkish artillery and AF and later grew into a full-blown invasion.

According to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, one of the incentives for Ankara to invade Syria was the possible threat of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), characterized as a “terror army”, which could initiate an offensive on the territory of Turkey. This army is armed with equipment supplied by Washington, and trained by American military instructors who still may be in the ranks of the SDF.

Recently, there emerged footage showing a downed Turkish helicopter and a damaged tank, both hit with U.S.-made weapons.

Obviously, this brought the raised the possibility of a direct confrontation between Ankara and Washington The presidents of the two countries exchanged rather harsh statements regarding the crisis.

But what do Turks think about the conflict and U.S. support for the Kurds? As there have been no large-scale polls conducted yet on this topic, a short analysis of online activity may shed the light upon the current trends in Turkish society.

Comment sections on news sites contain an outstanding amount of aggressive comments addressed to the United States. For instance, these were written in response to a news piece warning the U.S. to stop supplying Kurdish units:

  • “Americans should do the right thing after all the mistakes they have done”
  • “If they want to stay alive they should stop the supplies”
  • “No matter how many of you there are, come, what’s needed will be done. USA, come too”

Hurriyet readers express the same point of view:

  • “Not Turkey nor Syria matter to the US. They only want to secure their profit in the Middle East. Fight against terrorists must continue till none of them lives”
  • “If we had an atomic bomb America would have thought a thousand times before saying such things. The US’ statement is just like Johnson’s letter”

Posts on Twitter mostly represent the same negative attitude towards Washington’s policy.

  • US statements on Afrin come one after the other. As I understood, they said they would stop supporting PYD but they never will! They dress PYD militants as civilians and make it look like Turkey kills civilian population”
  • “Here is the two-faced US. Yesterday: - We are against the Afrin operation. Today: If PYD enters Afrin we’ll cut the support. Hey, who are you trying to fool?”

As for Facebook, one may come across such comments as this:

What do you think about US aiding Kurdish terrorists?

  • Washington supports terrorists all over the world!
  • Our “ally” USA is not our friend. All ties with Washington must be disrupted.
  • Such support must be stopped immediately!
  • I support [it]. PYD/PKK are not terrorists

Perhaps this one tops them all:

  • “A terrorist state supports terrorists”

As we can see, many Turks took quite an aggressive stance towards the U.S. because of its Kurdish project. At the same time, there are many who criticize Erdogan for kicking off the Olive Branch military operation and threatening the lives of quite a number of young Turks.

Operation Olive Branch in northern Syria started five days ago. The Afrin region became a possible hotbed for full-scale conflict between Turkish troops aided by the armed fighters of the Free Syrian Army and the U.S.-backed Kurdish units which had been dominating the area. The operation started with shelling and airstrikes by the Turkish artillery and AF and later grew into a full-blown invasion.

According to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, one of the incentives for Ankara to invade Syria was the possible threat of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), characterized as a “terror army”, which could initiate an offensive on the territory of Turkey. This army is armed with equipment supplied by Washington, and trained by American military instructors who still may be in the ranks of the SDF.

Recently, there emerged footage showing a downed Turkish helicopter and a damaged tank, both hit with U.S.-made weapons.

Obviously, this brought the raised the possibility of a direct confrontation between Ankara and Washington The presidents of the two countries exchanged rather harsh statements regarding the crisis.

But what do Turks think about the conflict and U.S. support for the Kurds? As there have been no large-scale polls conducted yet on this topic, a short analysis of online activity may shed the light upon the current trends in Turkish society.

Comment sections on news sites contain an outstanding amount of aggressive comments addressed to the United States. For instance, these were written in response to a news piece warning the U.S. to stop supplying Kurdish units:

  • “Americans should do the right thing after all the mistakes they have done”
  • “If they want to stay alive they should stop the supplies”
  • “No matter how many of you there are, come, what’s needed will be done. USA, come too”

Hurriyet readers express the same point of view:

  • “Not Turkey nor Syria matter to the US. They only want to secure their profit in the Middle East. Fight against terrorists must continue till none of them lives”
  • “If we had an atomic bomb America would have thought a thousand times before saying such things. The US’ statement is just like Johnson’s letter”

Posts on Twitter mostly represent the same negative attitude towards Washington’s policy.

  • US statements on Afrin come one after the other. As I understood, they said they would stop supporting PYD but they never will! They dress PYD militants as civilians and make it look like Turkey kills civilian population”
  • “Here is the two-faced US. Yesterday: - We are against the Afrin operation. Today: If PYD enters Afrin we’ll cut the support. Hey, who are you trying to fool?”

As for Facebook, one may come across such comments as this:

What do you think about US aiding Kurdish terrorists?

  • Washington supports terrorists all over the world!
  • Our “ally” USA is not our friend. All ties with Washington must be disrupted.
  • Such support must be stopped immediately!
  • I support [it]. PYD/PKK are not terrorists

Perhaps this one tops them all:

  • “A terrorist state supports terrorists”

As we can see, many Turks took quite an aggressive stance towards the U.S. because of its Kurdish project. At the same time, there are many who criticize Erdogan for kicking off the Olive Branch military operation and threatening the lives of quite a number of young Turks.