Turkish parliament extends mandate to use troops in Syria, Iraq for 1 year

The Turkish parliament on Saturday approved a one-year extension of a mandate to use troops abroad in Syria and Iraq
Saturday, 23 September 2017 23:12

The Turkish parliament on Saturday approved a motion to extend a mandate, authorizing military operations in Syria and Iraq for one year. The bill was overwhelmingly passed. 

The mandate was supported by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), fascist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), parliamentary main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), while the pro-Kurdish HDP, Peoples' Democratic Party, voted against the bill. The parliament held an extraordinary session to decide on the mandate, which was valid until October 30. It, first approved by parliament in October 2014, has been renewed every year since then.

The bill read in parliament listed combating Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq and the Islamic State (IS) group as national security requirements for Turkey. It also emphasized the "importance of Iraq and Syria's territorial integrity" and said "separatism based on ethnicity" poses a threat to both Turkey and regional stability.

Turkey with Iran and Russia agreed this month to allocate their forces to patrol the zone covering terrorist-held Idlib province in northwestern Syria and parts of the neighbouring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo regions to ease the six-year conflict. Previously Turkey launched an operation in Syria in August 2016 to support militants in the country against Damascus and Kurdish militants, which ended in March.

The Iraqi Kurdistan authorities have called the vote for September 25, drawing international criticism. Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said the extension was intended to protect Turkey from "threats", adding that the Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) planned vote on Monday was a "threat to national security".