Islamic State: Turkey MPs back Iraq-Syria deployment

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The resolution will also permit foreign troops to use Turkish territory for the operation.

SHAFAQNA – Turkey’s parliament has backed a motion allowing its military to enter Iraq and Syria to fight Islamic State (IS) militants.

The motion was passed with 298 MPs in favour and 98 against.

Turkey had been unwilling to fight IS militants because they were holding 46 Turkish hostages – but they were released last month.

Turkey is also wary of retaliation by IS and fears helping the Kurds who are fighting the militants.

Protesters demonstrated outside parliament as the debate began.

Turkey has a porous and vulnerable border with Syria, more than 900km (560 miles) long.

Turkey has long been accused of permitting the flow of jihadists and resources into Syria as well as allowing IS to traffic oil from oilfields it has captured. The government in Ankara denies the allegations.

The approval of parliament could also enable the US to use its large airbase at Incirlik in southern Turkey for air strikes.

Speaking in parliament earlier on Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the West to find a long-term solution to the crises in Syria and Iraq, pointing out that dropping “tonnes of bombs” on IS militants would only provide a temporary respite.

While he said “an effective struggle” against IS would be a priority for Turkey, “the immediate removal of the administration in Damascus” would also continue to be its priority.

He has repeatedly called for a buffer zone on the Turkish border inside Syria – enforced by a no-fly zone – to ensure security.

IS militants have advanced to within a few kilometres of the Kurdish town of Kobane, on the Syrian border with Turkey.

Imprisoned Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan was reported by Reuters on Thursday to have warned that peace talks between his group and the Turkish state would end if IS militants were allowed to carry out “a massacre” in Kobane.

The Islamic State advance close to the border has prompted thousands of Kurdish refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria to enter Turkey, which is already hosting more than a million Syrian refugees.

The IS campaign has also raised fears for the safety of Turkish special forces troops in Syria guarding the mausoleum of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, who founded the Ottoman Empire. The tomb is in a small enclave some 30km (18 miles) south of the Turkish border.

Mr Erdogan denied reports on Wednesday that the tomb had been surrounded by militants.

 

Source: BBC

www.shafaqna.com

 

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