Turkish opposition criticizes gov't over Shah Firat operation

Opposition describes evacuation of tomb as “abandonment.”

Turkish opposition criticizes gov't over Shah Firat operation


World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish opposition parties criticized on Tuesday the Turkish military's operation in Syria to relocate a tomb from its only exclave.

The main three opposition parties -- the Peoples' Democracy Party, or HDP, Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP -- slammed the government over the Shah Firat operation, as well as the new security bill, at their parties' respective parliamentary group meetings.

Suleyman Shah was the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. His tomb, and about 40 Turkish soldiers who guarded the Turkish territory inside war-torn Syria, were relocated Saturday during the Shah Firat military operation. 

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the main opposition leader and head of the Republican People’s Party, described the operation as a "washout."

"Turkey presented itself as a weak country with the operation," he said.

"For the first time since 1922 Turkey withdrew its troops from Turkish soil," Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Nationalist Movement Party, said. He was referring to the Great Offensive, the largest and final military operation in the war between Turkey and Greece during the Turkish War of Independence, which ended in a decisive victory for Turkey.

Peoples’ Democratic Party Co-Chair Figen Yuksekdag also criticized the government operation saying "The Suleyman Shah Tomb is in Kobani now. The Turkish flag has been secured by the people of Kobani, Rojova (a Kurdish-populated area in northeast Syria.)"

The two-pronged operation began late Saturday and ended in the early hours of Sunday. It brought the remains of Shah and sacred relics from the original exclave in Karakozak village in Munbic, Syria, some 37 kilometers away from the border, to Turkey.

At the same time, Turkey secured Ashme, another area in Syria close to its border, which has become the Shah’s temporary burial place.

The operation involved nearly 600 troops and 39 tanks.

According to a treaty signed between Turkey and France in 1921, Turkey has the right to guard the tomb and raise a flag over it. 

Security Bill 

The opposition also criticized the new security bill.

Kilicdaroglu and Yusekdag claimed that there were attempts to lynch their party members during the debate in the Turkish parliament.

"We are ready for any kind of attack or oppression. The CHP will not retreat," Kilicdaroglu said.

Bahceli also slammed the controversial security package and claimed the ruling AK Party is not open to any dialogue.

He added, however, that the MHP voted in favor of some articles of the new security package.

The security bill was devised following extensive rioting in Turkey last autumn. Protests in Turkey's southeastern provinces in October 2014 resulted in over 40 deaths that were sparked because of Turkish government not allegedly doing enough to save the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist group.

The government sees the measures brought by the security bill as compliant with EU norms, while opposition parties reject it outright, saying it would erode freedoms and rights in the country. 

Opposition parties pledged that they would not allow this bill to pass, but they can only delay it until March, when the parliament takes a break ahead of the June 7 general elections.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Şubat 2015, 21:48