Main opposition’s support for Turkey’s planned Syria incursion criticized 

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Tuesday was sharply criticized for approving a motion to renew authorization for Turkish military forces to enter northeastern Syria for the long-expected incursion.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) on Tuesday, the motion has effectively extended Turkey’s authority to launch cross-border military operations in northern Iraq and Syria for another year.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the secular CHP, earlier on Tuesday said during his party’s weekly parliamentary meeting that they will say “yes” to the motion so the Turkish soldiers in northern Syria won’t come to harm.

“We have soldiers there [northern Syria] and we have to protect them. For the sake of those mothers who had sent their children there, we will say yes to this motion with our hearts burning,” Turkish media reported the opposition leader as saying.

The governing AK Party (AKP) and its main ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as well as the Good Party (IP) and CHP with 291, 49, 39 and 139 seats in the parliament respectively, on Tuesday voted to renew the state’s authority to launch cross-border operations in northern Iraq and Syria.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), however, stated that it had voted against the motion, Anadolu said.

“It is time to say ‘No’ to these motions,” Sezai Temelli, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish HDP, said during his party’s group meeting also on Tuesday.

Defining the motion as “a test for candor,” he questioned: “Do you side with democracy or war, do you side with peace or disaster?”

“You’re putting your signature under a huge mistake,” HDP lawmaker Hisyar Ozsoy also told reporters, addressing to the parties that approved the motion on Tuesday.

Referring to Kilicdaroglu’s statement prior to voting in favor of the motion, Ozsoy underlined that they will not say “yes” to such motions with their hearts burning.

“We will say no to them with a mind at peace,” HDP MP added.

Levent Tuzel, deputy chair of the Labour Party (EMEP) and an ex-lawmaker for HDP, highlighted that CHP, as Turkey’s main opposition, was wrong to approve the planned operation in Syria.

“The CHP should not perceive this operation as an issue of national security. The main opposition party should follow a more peaceful policy,” Tuzel elaborated.

EMEP could not be a part of Tuesday’s voting process because the party does not have any seats in the parliament. CHP, who has only 139, could not have changed the outcome even if it had voted against the motion.

The two NATO allies, Turkey and the United States had agreed in August to create a “safe zone” along the Turkish border in parts of northern Syria under control of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

The YPG is regarded by the Turkish government as a terrorist organization linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a militant group that has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state for more than three decades.

On Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans for a unilateral military incursion into Kurdish-held northeastern Syria over Ankara’s dissatisfaction with the progress to establish the zone.

Turkey wants to clear border areas off the Syrian Kurdish militia so as to establish the planned “safe zone” where the country can relocate some 3.5 million Syrian refugees it currently hosts.

Washington gives green light for Turkey to enter Kurdish-controlled Syria

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