A popular Turkish soap opera star Burak Özçivit posed with army uniform for his Instagram account.

He was holding a gun in his hand and looking at the camera with a harsh gaze. He wrote, “May Allah protect our Army. Our prayers and hearts are with you”. He has received some harsh criticism because he is one of those who have preferred to pay money instead of doing his compulsory military service. Despite the negative comments he did not remove the post but rather closed the post to comments.

Özçivit is not the only one who is getting over-excited with the Operation Olive Branch (OOB). The head of AKP Karamürsel town branch Recep Demirel has also posed for the social media. Demirel was holding up two long-range semi-automatic rifles, Ottoman flags were visible right behind him. He was wearing Ray Ban sunglasses although he was indoors. To the journalists who contacted him, he said he was ready to fight; he was expecting orders from “The Chief” a.k.a President Erdogan.

It is more than OK to go overboard with warmongering these days in Turkey. However it is very dangerous to oppose or even to question the rationality of OOB. 54 people are detained and a further 57 are being interrogated due to their Facebook posts and tweets about OOB. No politician other than People’s Democracy Party (Halkin Demokrasi Partisi – HDP) MPs is raising questions about the operation. Even CHP is clapping the “bravery of the Turkish Army”.

The atmosphere in Turkey is so heavy in this sense. It is like the majority of the population is having some sort of a catharsis with OOB. Pro-government media is full of war stories praising Turkish Army. They even do not hesitate to use fake footage. A-Haber (A-News) used footage from Russian Army’s drill and presented it as from Afrin. As the footage was looping on air A Haber presenter was speaking on the video as if he was telling a live soccer game match.

President Erdoğan keeps giving his sharp speeches. He is preaching about the strength of the Turkish Armed Forces and underlines the “ones who would oppose OOB are terrorists”. He emphasizes there is no room for any kind of opposition about this operation.

As every military operation, OOB will be costly. However there will not be any room for complaints about worsening economic conditions. The head of Chamber Of Istanbul warned their members against manipulations. He said businessmen should not be alerted because of the rise in the US Dollar. He reminded that 70 percent of the operation is carried out with Turkish made weaponry, thus he said OOB reminds us of the importance of cost-effectiveness, saving and local national production.

Potential military gains and/or losses of OOB are yet to be seen. However OOB is going to provide something in internal politics. It is going to be another excuse for the political power to force for a willing/unwilling national unity. It is going to help the political power to eliminate any kind of political and/or social opposition. It is highly likely, even if OOB ends unsuccessfully, Turkish public will not be aware of it. So in any case this incursion is a winner strategy for Mr. Erdoğan.


Burak Ozcivit

Recep Demirel