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Fierce debate on motion

ANKARA- Hürriyet Daily News | 10/5/2011 12:00:00 AM | Göksel Bozkurt

Turkey’s Parliament convened Wednesday to vote on whether to authorize military action against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq for another year, with only the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, stating its opposition to the move.

Turkey’s Parliament convened Wednesday to vote on whether to authorize military action against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq for another year, with only the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, stating its opposition to the move. The vote had not yet been held as the Daily News went to print late Wednesday, but the approval of the government’s motion appeared all but certain because the two opposition parties had already expressed support for the measure.

The BDP, Turkey’s biggest Kurdish political force, voiced harsh objections to the move, sparking heated exchanges in Parliament.

BDP deputy group chairman Hasip Kaplan called the vote “a declaration of war,” while fellow lawmaker Sırrı Süreyya Önder said four major cross-border operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in the 1990s had proved the futility of military action.

Rhetoric on the other side ran high as well. Mehmet Şandır of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, said the state was taking measures “against terrorists shedding blood.” MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli called for an immediate ground incursion “to destroy the murderers in their dens,” during remarks in the southern province of Osmaniye earlier Wednesday.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said its support for the motion did not amount to support for the government’s overall policies on the Kurdish conflict.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Kaplan slammed a wave of masse detentions against Kurdish political figures that have come as part of a long-running investigation into the alleged urban collaborators of the PKK.

As Parliament debated the motion, a 21-year-old Turkish soldier stationed in northern Iraq, committed suicide late Tuesday, according to the governor of the southeastern province of Şırnak.

In a related development, the six CHP lawmakers on Parliament’s foreign affairs commission expressed reservations on a Turkey-Iraq anti-terror accord on the grounds that it did not contain a provision giving Turkey the right to hot pursuit of PKK militants on Iraqi territory. With the absence of such a provision, the 2009 accord is “void of substance” the CHP deputies argued.

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