Turkish parliament extends motion for cross-border operations in Iraq, Syria

Turkish parliament on Tuesday extended a motion for the government’s authority to launch cross-border military operations in Iraq and Syria for one more year.

The motion had previously allowed the Turkish Armed Forces to carry out cross-border operations from Oct. 30, 2018, until Oct. 30, 2019. All political parties, except pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), at the parliament supported the motion.

The motion stated that Turkey attaches great importance to the protection of Iraq’s territorial integrity, national unity, and stability. “However, the existence of PKK and Daesh in Iraq poses a direct threat to regional peace, stability and the security of our country,” it added, using the Arabic acronym of Islamic State (IS). It also said that Turkey has continued security activities in the east of Euphrates in line with its legitimate security interests.

The motion came ahead of Turkey’s planned military operation in the east of the Euphrates in northern Syria.

Turkey’s ultimate target in northern Syria was to end the existence of all terrorist groups and to facilitate the return of Syrians to their own country by providing a “peace corridor” within the territorial integrity of Syria, the chair of parliament’s National Defense Committee Ismet Yilmaz said addressing the lawmakers.

In 2016, Turkey launched the Operation Euphrates Shield and in 2018 the Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers as the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and the IS. Turkish Armed Forces frequently hit northern Iraq, bases of the PKK.