The Turkish parliament on Tuesday ratified a motion, extending the state’s authority, to launch cross-border military operations in northern Iraq and Syria for another year.
The motion came ahead of Turkey’s planned safe zone operation in northern Syria.
The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and two other opposition parties, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Good (IYI) Party backed the motion. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), however, voted against the motion.
Addressing lawmakers ahead of the voting, head of parliament’s National Defense Committee Ismet Yilmaz said that Turkey’s ultimate target in the northern Syria was to end the existence of all terrorist groups.
“Turkey aims to facilitate return of Syrians to their own country, to their homes and to their own territories, by providing a peace corridor within the territorial integrity of Syria,” he said.
Yilmaz also noted that the motion would support the actions to permanently end the terrorism in the region.
The motion, which was submitted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, had previously allowed the Turkish military to carry out cross-border operations from Oct. 30, 2018 until Oct. 30, 2019.
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.
Meanwhile, the motion also said that Turkey has continued security activities east of Euphrates River in line with its legitimate security interest.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch 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.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. YPG is the Syrian branch of the terrorist organization PKK.