Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received his Romanian counterpart Victor Ponta in Ankara, Sept. 19. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
A new bill set to replace a motion passed last year by the Turkish Parliament authorizing cross-border military operations in Syria might include some amendments, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
said Sept. 19.
Both the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff have begun taking the necessary to prepare the new bill before last year’s bill meets its statutory expiration date on Oct. 4.
“The new motion could be the same. But of course, there might be some changes. The Foreign Ministry and the General Staff are now doing what is necessary. Then, we will make our assessment and submit it to the Parliament,” Erdoğan told reporters during a joint press conference in Ankara
with visiting Romanian counterpart Victor Ponta.
The motion brought about amendments in the rules of engagement adopted by Turkey. These were recently referred to by Turkish officials after the military shot down a Syrian helicopter that committed a border violation on Sept. 16.
Erdoğan also described a car bomb attack at the Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey on Sept. 17 as a “routine incident.”
“It is possible to expect these kinds of incidents either in the north of Syria or in other regions,” Erdoğan said, mentioning reports of a dam shelling on the Euphrates River that sparked fears of large-scale flooding. “According to our sources, thousands of people are at risk of being submerged into water. Syria’s cruel regime takes this sort of actions. These [incidents] have become routine in Syria,” Erdoğan said.
“Turkey is prepared for anything that may happen,” he added.
The hydroelectric Taqba dam faces the danger of crumbling after shelling by Syrian forces, activists and eyewitnesses reported this week, warning that the resulting flooding could leave a very large area under water. The reservoir, the largest in the country and named Lake al-Assad, is 80 kilometers long.
For his part, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta gave his support to Turkey’s Syria policy.
“We are on Turkey’s side concerning the steps that it has taken on the Syrian issue,” Ponta said.