ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday invoked a militaristic Turkish myth that symbolizes world domination and unification of all Turkic peoples as his army continued its attacks for a third day on the Kurdish region of Afrin in neighboring Syria.
“We are heading toward the Kizil Elma,” Erdogan told an audience at his Ankara palace, referring to the cause of “Red Apple” that far-Turkish nationalists aspire in pursuit of conquering new lands and bringing all Turkic peoples under one banner.
Erdogan claimed all citizens were supportive of the ongoing aerial attacks and ground invasion of Afrin which the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) have kept secure since the beginning of the Syrian conflict six years ago.
“People pray at mosques, come up to kiss our soldiers’ forehead, these are all beautiful instances. Yes, we have a ‘Kizil Elma,’” Erdogan continued, in remarks carried by the state-owned Anadolu Agency.
Turkish airstrikes have killed dozens of civilians, and Kurdish fighters since Ankara launched its “Operation Olive Branch.”
According to the Turkish Language Association’s definition, the “Kizil Elma” meant the cities of Constantinople (Istanbul), Vienna, and Rome for the Ottomans who conquered the first in 1453 and laid an unsuccessful siege two times on the second in the 16th-17th centuries.
Erdogan brought up the idea of conquest, originated from the founding ancient Turkish myth of Ergenekon, after a soldier deployed on the Afrin front said his unit’s destination was “Kizil Elma” when asked where they were going by the pro-government A Haber TV.
Over the weekend, the Turkish President alleged that a clear majority of Afrin was Arab and the Kurds there were relocated from elsewhere, adding that the Syrians who sought refuge in his country needed “to go back to their land.”
Until the Turkish assault, Afrin mostly remained intact from the ravaging effects of the civil war raging in Syria and proved to be a haven for civilians displaced by the conflict between the Damascus government and Islamist-led armed opposition groups.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany