Turkish government may have to stand alone with Syria motion

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Turkey’s opposition parties vow to battle any decision by the government to pass a bill permitting Turkish participation in any attack on Syria, saying only Parliament can decide the matter

 The government has not ruled out a probable need to adopt a new motion by the Parliament for a possible military intervention in Syria, in which Turkey will probably participate, as the opposition parties asserted that an existing motion was not sufficient for an intervention into the neighboring country.

The current composition and stance of the opposition parties indicate that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) may face hard times if and when it submits a new motion.

“We have in our hands a very strong motion which allows our armed forces and the government of the Republic of Turkey to take all kinds of measures against risks stemming from Syria. But if necessity requires another situation, then we will appeal to the Parliament,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said yesterday.

Only a day after mortar fire launched from the Syrian side of the border killed five civilians in the Turkish border town of Akçakale, as of Oct. 4, 2012, Turkey’s Parliament passed a government motion for a one-year mandate authorizing the military to use ground troops for cross-border military operations into Syria. Yesterday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Faruk Loğoğlu said not the government but the Parliament was authorized to send troops to foreign countries according to the Constitution.

Reference to March 1

“Their taking the Parliament’s will for granted is disrespect of the AKP [the Justice and Development Party] to the high Parliament and the AKP deputies,” Loğoğlu said in a written statement, warning that the AKP should not forget “the March 1, 2003, motion” experience.

He was referring to the Parliament’s rejection of a government motion requesting authorization to deploy U.S. troops to open a northern front on Iraq in March, 2003, which stunned Washington and strained ties between the two traditional allies.

In remarks delivered to NTV news channel yesterday, AKP Deputy Chair and Spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik suggested that there was no need for a new motion for an operation if one were to be launched by October. “It is wrong to compare it with the March 1 motion, I had voted against that motion,” Çelik told NTV. As of Aug. 26, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy parliamentary group chair Oktay Vural had already voiced resentment against Davutoğlu’s remarks about Turkey’s involvement in an attack on Syria, while underlining that the government needed the Parliament’s authorization for such move. Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy parliamentary group chair İdris Baluken made clear yesterday that a new motion was needed and that they would certainly not lend support to such a motion. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has suggested that last year’s motion, which is still valid for around one more month, could be sufficient if its content meets fulfillment of whatever will be required when the time comes for any intervention into Syria.

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