ISSN 2330-717X

Turkey Won’t Change Middle East Policy – OpEd

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By Rufiz Hafizoglu

The opposition Republican People’s Party of Turkey was expected to oppose extending of the ‘Syrian mandate’ in the country’s parliament. Voting for the mandate extension will be held at the Turkish parliament tomorrow.

According to the mandate, adopted in 2012, Ankara may take any measures to combat terrorism and other threats against the country, to repulse the danger that can be posed by the terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, to protect the interests of the country before and after the crisis, and, if necessary, to involve the army in military operations in other countries (Syria and Iraq).

But the Republican People’s Party has issued a statement today that the party members will vote for the extension of this mandate as opposed to the Peoples’ Democratic Party.

As earlier the Republican People’s Party opposes the foreign policy of the Justice Development Party.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has repeatedly called all political parties for making efforts to fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization. At present, it is a real threat to Ankara. Despite all of Davutoglu’s appeals, the Republicans opposed the foreign policy of Turkey, in particular, holding of military operations by the Turkish armed forces on the territory of Iraq and Syria against various terrorist organizations.

But what has influenced the Republicans’ current decision to change their position on the “Syrian mandate”?

If we examine the current situation after the parliamentary election in Turkey, we can say that the main political parties are aware of the difficult and dangerous situation in the region. It is clear that if the growing threat of terrorism, as well as radicalism is not stopped on the borders of the country by any means, sooner or later it can penetrate the country’s territory.

Despite the “Syrian mandate” adopted in 2012, the Turkish armed forces never crossed the border of the country to carry out the military operations against the IS.

The Turkish armed forces conducted all operations against IS militants only from the airspace of Turkey.

Taking into account that while adopting the mandate, Turkey did not plan any ground operations in Syria against the IS, it is not excluded that even after the extension of the mandate, the country’s armed forces will not start military operations in the territory of Syria.

As earlier, Ankara will protect its borders and continue supporting the Free Syrian Army until a safe zone is created in Syria.

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