Turkish parliament authorizes military assault on Syria ‘when necessary’
Turkey’s parliament has authorized cross-border military operations into Syria ‘when necessary’ following a casual mortar-shelling incident on the Turkish-Syrian border, reports Hürriyet Daily News.
The Turkish army has been retaliating by shelling Syrian military positions since Wednesday.
The government-initiated debates in the Turkish parliament took place behind closed doors. The cabinet of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan claimed the Syrian military had launched an act of aggression against Turkey.
On Wednesday at least three mortar bombs fired from Syria killed five civilians and wounded at least eight in the Turkish town of Akcakale. This became a second mortar attack on the Turkish town since last Friday. Back then Foreign Minister Davutoglu said he would take action if there were a repeat.
After a heated debate an urgent parliamentary session has opted to apply the new law.
Originally the bill targeted militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighting for independent Kurd state for the last three decades. The Kurds have bases in northern Iraq, de-facto not controlled by the government in Baghdad. The Turkish military has conducted a number of air and ground assaults on Kurdish positions in Iraq, most of them considered successful.
The debates around the move have sparked sharp negative reaction among the Turkish population. While a small group of anti-war protesters rallied outside the Turkish parliament in Ankara, a real anti-war storm has been initiated by Turkish and foreign activists on social networks both inside and outside of Turkey. The hashtag #savasahayir (no to war) quickly spread beyond Turkish borders into global social networking.