US welcomes Turkish anti-ISIL motion, contrasts reactions in Syria, Iran

US welcomes Turkish anti-ISIL motion, contrasts reactions in Syria, Iran

US welcomes Turkish anti-ISIL motion, contrasts reactions in Syria, Iran

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. AA Photo

As the U.S., which is leading a military operation against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets both in Iraq and Syria, has welcomed the Turkish Parliament’s approval on a government motion for military operations, both Syria and Iran reacted negatively to such plans.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad said late Oct. 3 that any military action by Turkey inside Syria’s territory would be considered “an act of aggression,” according to Press TV, the state-controlled Iranian broadcaster. 

The 550-seat Turkish Parliament voted 298-98 in favor of the motion, providing legal grounds for the government to deploy forces to Iraq and Syria, along with many other military rights.

Miqdad also called on the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency session condemning Turkey’s decision, Press TV said on its website.

He accused Turkey and Saudi Arabia of sending militants into Syria.

Turkish tanks and other military units have already taken position at the Syrian border, as fighting between ISIL and Kurdish forces escalate.

The Iranian media outlet reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also condemned to the motion.

“The countries in the region should act responsibly with regard to the current situation and not contribute to the exacerbation of the situation in the region,” Zarif said in a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, according to Press TV.

The Obama administration, which has been pushing Turkey to take on a broader role in the anti-ISIL coalition, welcomed the Oct. 2 motion.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hailed the vote as a “very positive development.”

“We will continue to consult with the Turkish government on the specifics of how the implementation of that authority would be carried out, and we welcome it very much,” Hagel said. 

“We welcome the Turkish Parliament’s vote to authorize Turkish military action,” Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We’ve had numerous high-level discussions with Turkish officials to discuss how to advance our cooperation in countering the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria.”

Psaki said Turkey had experienced the direct impacts of the ISIL crisis in the Middle East, adding the vote “provided broad authority, so the phase we’re in now is discussing what particular role they’ll play.”

Gen. John Allen, who leads the coalition against ISIL, and his deputy, Ambassador Brett McGurk, will travel to the region and to Turkey to discuss action against the terrorist group.

Arshad al-Salihi, the head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC), also welcomed the Turkish motion, calling it a positive development for Turkmens under threats from ISIL in Iraq.

“The approval of the [Turkish] Parliament on the motion proves that Turkey is an important actor in the region,” he told Hürriyet.

He added that the air operations against ISIL militants at their door were not sufficient.