Parliament approves cross-border motions into northern Iraq

Parliament approves cross-border motions into northern Iraq

Parliament approves cross-border motions into northern Iraq

AA Photo

A government motion to extend the Turkish military’s authority for cross-border operations against members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) settled in northern Iraq was approved by Parliament late Oct. 11 with the majority of votes, except from Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers.

“This is not a motion for war, this motion has been adopted to provide peace. Procuring security in northern Iraq is Turkey’s sincere wish. We wish Kurdish regional administration would have prevented the threat directed to Turkey from its soil, but it did not carry out such an action,” Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz said in Parliament during the debates.

Parliament authorized cross-border operations into northern Iraq in 2007 and has extended the mandate each year. The motion would authorize the government to determine the scale, scope and timing of military action. The current mandate of the motion expires Oct. 17.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) fully supported the motion. The main opposition Republican People Party (CHP) also approved it, however with few exceptional votes against it. BDP strongly opposed the motion calling it “war motion.”

It is sorrowful and inexplicable that the Parliament debates “motion for war” as soon as it begins its new legislative year, BDP deputy parliamentary group chair Pervin Buldan said during his speech at Parliament on Oct. 11. “Prime Minister should act responsibly and urgently launch the negotiations which would put an end to this bloody process. We will say ‘no’ to this motion for this reason,” Buldan said.

Although they expressed their support for motion, MHP and CHP criticized the government during debates in Parliament.

MHP deputy parliamentary group chair Oktay Vural criticized the government for the secret talks which was allegedly held between 2009 and 2011 with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We authorize the government to fight with terrorist organization [PKK], not for negotiating with them,” Vural said.

CHP’s Muharrem İnce, for his part, called on the government to attack northern Iraq’s Kandil Mountain, where the PKK leadership is based.

“When will [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] who speaks about performing prayer in Umayyad Mosque in Damascus mention encamping in Kandil Mountain?” İnce said.