Turkish Parliament debates cross border military action motion

Turkish Parliament debates cross border military action motion

Turkish Parliament debates cross border military action motion

AA Photo

Parliament convened on Sept. 3 to extend the mandate of the Turkish Armed Forces to take military action in Iraq and Syria in an extraordinary session, with the measure due to be in effect for one year.

The motion, which is to extend a motion adopted on Oct. 2, 2014 that authorized the launching of military incursions into Syria and Iraq for possible operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other forces was opened for signatures by Justice and Development Party (AKP) ministers before the interim government was formed. 

The motion submitted by the AKP on Aug. 21 cited an “increased risk” regarding national security.

The motion is particularly important for the government amid the nearly month-long campaign of air strikes against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, as the motion also includes terrorist threats from Iraqi territory.

The issue of oath-taking by interim cabinet ministers caused the voting to be delayed. 

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair İdris Baluken claimed the motion is not directed against ISIL, but against the “forces that fight against ISIL,” implying Kurdish militant groups. 

The HDP objected to the motion, while the CHP decided to support the motion this year. Some CHP deputies boycotted the voting in protest at the party’s decision to support the motion. 

The CHP was against the cross border motion in 2014, but this year it did not want to take a position that would block operations against the PKK. 

Baluken also objected to the motion text that included the PKK alongside ISIL, noting that Ankara had carried out negotiations with the PKK for three years before the breakdown of the peace process.