Turkey to Extend Troops’ Deployment in Iraq and Syria

Two Turkish soldiers salute while the Afghan National Army band plays the national anthems of Turkey and Afghanistan. Turkey has an outstanding relationship with Afghanistan and continues to support recovery and sustainment. Photo: U.S. Navy photo by MC2 (SW) Christopher Hall
Two Turkish soldiers salute while the Afghan National Army band plays the national anthems of Turkey and Afghanistan. Turkey has an outstanding relationship with Afghanistan and continues to support recovery and sustainment. Photo: U.S. Navy photo by MC2 (SW) Christopher Hall

Turkey parliament has approved an extension of soldiers’ deployment in Iraq and Syria. The mandate to prolong the deployment of forces came just two days before an independence referendum to be held in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The newly approved extension allows the deployment of troops in Iraq in case of national security threats.

The Turkish move to extend the deployment of troops just two days before the Kurdish referendum in Iraq is deemed significant.

The semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq declared a referendum in pursuit of independence. Ankara has been condemning the step since the beginning. Turkey regards the Kurdish move as a mistake and a threat to its security and stability.

The latest move by the Turkey parliament was supported by members of parliament from Justice and Development Party, Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party. People’s Democratic Party (HDP) opposed the bill.

The previous mandate by the Turkey parliament allowed the military to conduct cross-border operations in October.

The bill regards the Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq as security threats for Turkey. It also said that Turkey emphasizes on the territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria.

Turkish Position against the Iraqi Kurds’ Independence Referendum

Turkey has reiterated its commitment to the integrity of Iraq and its stance against the independence referendum of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday, “With our 80 million citizens and the 780,000 square kilometers of our homeland, we will never tolerate any adventurism for our country’s security or the welfare of our nation.”

“As a neighboring country, Turkey has given the necessary warning in a friendly way since the beginning. But we see that these warnings have not been heeded,” he added.

Kurdish Referendum on 25 September Defying Warnings

The Iraqi Kurds are seeking for a referendum announced to be held on 25 September 2017 despite the U.S. objection.

A free state for the Kurds has been cemented in the hearts of Kurdish people ever since the defeated Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Sevres promising a free state for the Kurds after the First World War.

“Our expectation from Erbil is clear, that is the cancellation of the referendum, as the interests and future of the Kurds lie in a united Iraq,” Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said during talking with the reporters in Iraq.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi warned the Iraqi Kurds that his government could intervene militarily if they insist on the referendum.

Mr. Abadi told in an interview with the Associated Press that “If the Iraqi population is threatened by the use of force outside the law, then we will intervene militarily.”

Prime Minister Abadi added, “If you challenge the constitution and if you challenge the borders of Iraq and the borders of the region, this is a public invitation to the countries in the region to violate Iraqi borders as well, which is a very dangerous escalation.”

 


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