While the focus remains on the potential effects of the Turkish intervention in Afrin across the Middle East, the Operation Olive Branch is a strategic play in President Erdogan’s path to securing a victory in the 2019 Presidential Elections. Faced with his first legitimate challenge from Turkey’s “Iron Lady” Meral Aksener, Erdogan turns to fighting Kurds in Syria with hopes of raising the nationalist sentiment within the country and curtailing Aksener’s growing influence over the nationalist conservative base. Erdogan’s risky gamble may fail to boost his popularity – especially considering Aksener represents an alternative platform that is ideologically similar to Erdogan’s with a promise to end the Erdogan’s authoritarian rule in a milestone election that will grant the winner almost unlimited and unchecked executive power.
Erdemandi, Max. 2018. "Election Anxiety is Driving Erdogan’s Decisions in Syria." College Park, MD: START (February). https://www.start.umd.edu/news/election-anxiety-driving-erdogan-s-decisions-syria