Turkey: CHP voices support for motion on Iraq, Syria

Turkey: CHP voices support for motion on Iraq, Syria

CHP's deputy group head says they will support the motion if it 'strengthens the Turkish army's hand in the region'

By Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) - The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) gave on Friday a green light to a motion that will authorize the government to deploy troops in Syria and Iraq for another one year.

Speaking to journalists in the parliament, Engin Altay, the deputy chairman of the CHP, said they would support the motion if it "strengthens the Turkish army's hand in the region”.

He added: "If the motion's content includes action against terrorist organizations which threaten Turkey, we will surely support the motion".

The parliament will hold an extraordinary session on Saturday to debate the extension of Turkish military’s operation in northern Iraq and Syria.

The deputies will debate the Prime Ministry’s motion that enables the government to conduct cross-border operations in northern Iraq and Syria.

The motion had previously allowed the Turkish military to carry out cross-border operations from Oct. 2, 2016 until Oct. 31, 2017.

- 'Strong voice'

The opposition Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) parliamentary deputy group chairman also expressed support for Saturday's motion.

"The MHP will vote in favor of the motion with all its deputies," Erkan Akcay said, adding that this would be a strong voice from the parliament against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)'s agenda to hold a referendum on independence.

The decision to hold Turkish parliament's extraordinary session came after KRG refused to cancel the referendum.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Friday, People's Democratic Party's (HDP) parliamentary group deputy chairman claimed that the parliament would convene on an artificial agenda on Saturday.

"They [the AK Party] will convene the parliament on an agenda in which they do not believe," said Ahmet Yildirim.

He added that the government would nationalize and militarize Turkey following the referendum.

The non-binding referendum will see residents of Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Iraq vote on full independence from Baghdad.

The U.S. and UN have also spoken out against the poll, saying it would distract from operations against Daesh and lead to greater regional instability.

Baghdad has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote results in violence. KRG President Masoud Barzani has said a “yes” vote would not initiate a declaration of independence but would lead to negotiations with the Iraqi government.

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