Turkish parliament ratifies motion on Iraq, Syria

Turkish parliament ratifies motion on Iraq, Syria

Turkish parliament ratifies motion on Iraq, Syria

The Turkish parliament on Oct. 26 passed a motion that extends authorization for the government’s troop deployment in Iraq and Syria for another two years.

The motion underlined that the developments in the regions adjacent to Turkey’s southern land borders and the risks and threats posed by the ongoing environment of conflict increasingly continue. 

Turkey attaches great importance to the protection of the territorial integrity, national unity and stability of its neighbor Iraq, the motion said.

“On the other hand, the continued existence of PKK and ISIL elements in Iraq and the attempts against ethnic-based separatism pose a direct threat to regional peace, stability and the security of our country. Terrorist organizations, especially PKK/PYD-YPG and ISIL, continue their presence in Syria in the areas adjacent to our border, continuing their actions against our country, our national security and civilians,” it said.

The motion drew attention to the fact that the terrorist organization PKK/PYD-YPG continues its separatist activities in Syria. It explained that measures were taken in line with the legitimate national security interests in order to preserve the peace and stability established in Turkey’s areas of operation.
 It stressed that the risks and threats targeting the activities related to the establishment of stability and security in Idlib within the scope of the Astana process continue.

Within the scope of all these developments, “necessary measures in line with our rights arising from international law is of vital importance for our national security,” against any action that may pose a threat to the national security, aimed at disrupting the territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria and creating illegitimate fait accompli in the field.

The motions to extend the deployment of troops to Iraq and Syria were previously issued for one year.The previous motion, which was submitted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government, had allowed the Turkish military to carry out cross-border operations from Oct. 30, 2020, until Oct. 30, 2021.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition parties, except for the CHP and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), voted in favor of the motion. HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan called for the opposition lawmakers to reject the motion and instead “stand by peace” in Syria.

“The government, which extended the duration of the motion by one year every year, wants to extend it for two years this time. This means that the government is trying to secure the motion by extending the deadline for two years because it is worried that the AKP group will not be able to hold the parliament after one year. They see for themselves that they are going,” she said, speaking at the HDP’s parliamentary group meeting ahead of the voting.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations - Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019) - across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents.

Turkey has long decried the threat from the YPG group located east of River Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU - has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the terrorist organization PKK.

Lebanon peacekeeping mission

Turkish lawmakers also ratified a separate motion to extend for another year the deployment of troops in Lebanon as part of a U.N. peacekeeping force.The AK Party, CHP, MHP, and IYI Party backed the motion, leaving the HDP as the sole party opposing it.

Under the motion, the term of Turkish soldiers in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, also known as UNIFIL, is extended until Oct. 30, 2022.

The motion has been extended 14 times since it was first approved by parliament in 2006.

UNIFIL was established in 1978, when Israel withdrew from Lebanon. The peacekeeping force is intended to provide security and help the Lebanese government rebuild its authority.

Over 10,000 troops from 46 countries are part of the UNIFIL