Turkish parliament extends troop deployment in Iraq, Syria for 2 years

Government motion extends mandate for Iraq, Syria anti-terror operations for 2 more years.

Turkish parliament extends troop deployment in Iraq, Syria for 2 years

Turkey’s parliament on Tuesday ratified a motion extending authorization to launch cross-border anti-terrorist operations in northern Iraq and Syria for two more years.

The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the opposition Good (IYI) Party backed the motion. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), however, voted against the motion.

The motion, referred to parliament by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would allow the Turkish military to carry out cross-border operations in northern Iraq and Syria for two more years, from Oct. 30, 2021, until Oct. 30, 2023.

The motion stated that the risks and threats posed by ongoing conflicts near Turkey's southern land borders "continue to rise."

Stressing that Turkey places great importance on protecting Iraq's territorial integrity, national unity, and stability, the motion said: "However, the presence of the (terrorist groups) PKK and Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq poses a direct threat to regional peace, stability, and the security of our country."

The motion also pointed to the activities of the terrorist PKK/YPG in Syria, adding that Turkey had taken necessary measures in line with its "legitimate national security interests" to preserve the "peace and stability established in Turkey's operation areas."

Idlib, PKK terrorism, Daesh/ISIS

It also underlined the situation in Syria’s Idlib province, the country’s last remaining opposition stronghold, saying that the peace and stability established via the Astana process continues to be under threat.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia. The area has been the subject of multiple cease-fire understandings, which have frequently been violated by the Assad regime and its allies.

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

PKK terrorists often use northern Iraq, just across the Turkish border, to plot attacks in Turkey. Turkey says it uses its rights under international law to pursue these terrorists at their hideouts.

Daesh/ISIS terrorists have carried out multiple attacks against Turkey, including at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bombings, and four armed attacks, which killed 315 people and injured hundreds of others.

In response, Turkey launched military and police operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks.

Since 2016, several Turkish cross-border operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence to return home.

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Hüseyin Demir

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