Turkey’s ISIL mandate includes 'military action abroad, opening bases to foreign troops'
Some 350 American and Turkish soldiers based at İncirlik Air Base in the southern Turkish province of Adana cleaned the airstrip on Sept. 30, three days after a storm brought debris that risked landings and take-offs. DHA photo
The mandate the Turkish government is seeking from the Parliament to authorize the army to send troops into Iraq and Syria to deal with growing threat of extremist jihadists does also include opening its bases to foreign troops, a senior government official has said, signalling about potential Turkish contribution to the international military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“The motion we are about to send the Parliament is going to be comprehensive and to deal today’s and tomorrow’s threats,” deputy Prime Minister and spokesperson of the government, Bülent Arınç told reporters Sept. 30 following weekly cabinet meeting.
Upon a question whether the motion to be sent to Parliament will include sending troops to foreign countries to establish security zones, to allow deployment of foreign troops and to open Turkish military bases to foreign troops, Arınç said “Let me include one more option: All. The motion will refer to all of these points you have asked.”
“We are a determined government. We perfectly know what’s going on inside and outside Turkey. This issue of security zone and other issues all have diplomatic and military reflections,” he added.
After another question, Arınç said that the ISIL militants are advancing on Suleyman Shah Tomb in northern Syria, which Turkish soldiers continue to guard.
Turkey is insisting to establish safe havens in Syria for the protection of Syrian refugees inside the country. Apart from a security zone, it does also ask coalition members led by the United States to establish no-fly zones over Syrian airspace.
The motion is based on Article 92 of Turkey's Constitution that stipulates parliamentary authorization for sending troops to another country or to allow deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soils.
Arınç said the motion has two parts, its reasoning and demands from the Parliament, and underlined that it will be as comprehensive as possible so that the government will not need a fresh parliamentary mandate.
“We were planning to extend already existing motions on Iraq and Syria that will expiry in October. Their validity could be extended in a routine way but we have thought to work on a text merging these motions that would address all threats and risks Turkey is facing in its region,” Arınç stressed.
The motion is expected to be voted at the Parliament on Oct. 2 following a closed session due to sensitivity of the issue.