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AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Since Turkey announced its incursion into neighboring Syria to clear out Kurdish fighters last week, patriotic sentiment has run high — as has bewilderment and anger at the overwhelmingly negative international reaction to Ankara's actions.
"At times of this kind of Turkish operation, we as Turkish people feel prouder about our nation," said Cuma Gunay, a 47-year-old supermarket owner in the border town of Akcakale.
Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey, as well as the U.S. and European Union, designate a terrorist organization.
But the offensive has led to an international outcry, causing tens of thousands to flee their homes and upending alliances in Syria's eight-year war.
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