Turkish press reacts to pending Syria operation

The Turkish media is lively with speculation following US President Donald Trump’s vow not to interfere with a much-anticipated Turkish military operation in Kurdish-administered northeast Syria and to pull American troops back from the area.

Unanswered questions over the depth of the operation, whether the United States will open the airspace to Turkish jets and the timing of Ankara’s third incursion into Syria dominate discussions in domestic broadcasts, print outlets and social media feeds.

More than 90% of the nation’s mainstream media outlets are pro-state and generally support operations against Kurdish militants in Syria — who are considered an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Ankara, the United States and the European Union designate as a terror group. Yet mixed reporting on fast-moving developments present a diversity of opinions and concerns as military forces make preparations on Turkey’s southern border.

As the operation will affect Syria’s Kurdish-majority region, currently administered by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the majority of Turkey’s Kurdish media outlets responded negatively to the news. Kurdish media reports focused on the work SDF forces had done to eliminate Islamic State militants from the region, as well as the possibility that IS detainees in the region could escape or pose a security threat as a result of the operation.

“That’s the main problem, what will happen with IS?” asked Mahmut Bozarslan, a Kurdish journalist based in Diyarbakir who writes for Al-Monitor. He said during an interview for this article, “People are afraid of this. If these detainees are released, what will happen if they come to Turkey?”

Read the full story on Al Monitor: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/turkey-media-reacts-syria-operation.html