Just as the members of the Turkish parliament were getting ready to discuss and vote on the war motion that will enable Turkey’s cross-border military operations in Iraq and Syria to continue for another two years, the main opposition party announced that it would vote against the motion.
The announcement came from the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) parliamentary group deputy chair Özgür Özel on Tuesday. Following the party’s parliamentary group meeting, Özel said, upon a question by a journalist, that they would say ‘nay’ to the presidential authorisation enabling an extension of cross-border operations.
Instead of giving any details regarding their decision, he made a reference to the speech made by the party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu a few hours ago and to 14 questions addressed by the party group.
The following questions were earlier publicly addressed by the parliamentary group of CHP:
1. What was Turkey’s Syria policy when the initial authorisation for cross-border operations was accepted in 2014, and what is the policy now?
2. Although the previous motions were always for a period of one year, what is the reason for the last motion to cover a period of two years?
3. What has become of the previous emphasis on ‘the east of the Euphrates’? [referring to territories under the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria?].
4. What has become of the ‘secure territory of 145 kilometres in length and 30 kilometres in depth’ east of the Euphrates, which was the main objective of Operation Peace?
5. It had been personally announced by the Minister of Defence that a consensus had been reached regarding a ‘secure’ zone, and the Syrian refugees were to be settled there. It has been two years since then. What has become of the project settling the Syran refugees in the ‘secure’ zone?
6. What has become of the commitments we made in the Astana process, referred to in the motion. Have we been able to filter the ‘terror elements’ in Idlib and get rid of them?
7. What has become of the 12 watch-towers we set up around Idlib during the Astana process?
8. How many watch-towers have been evacuated, for what reasons? How are the five watch-towers, said to be under the control of Turkish military forces, defended? What is our policy regarding these towers?
9. What has become of the security of the M4-M5 motorways which are supposedly of great importance to us? Are our soldiers making rounds with the Russian soldiers?
10. How did we respond to Russia, which martyred 33 soldiers of ours in Syria?
11. Why aren’t there any announcements on who and which organisations killed our soldiers more recently?
12. Why has a militant of the Islamic State, who’d given the order of executing our soldiers in Syria by burning, been released in Turkey?
13. Is the Islamic State a target only in Syria?
14. How are we planning to prevent a new wave of refugees? Which measures will be taken? Do you have a plan?
CHP’s leader Kılıçdaroğlu, moreover, had said at the parliamentary group meeting that there were articles in the motion regarding ‘the presence of foreign soldiers in Turkey’ and ‘their use, in accordance with principles to be set by the president.’ Kılıçdaroğlu had asked ‘who’ those soldiers were, and whether Taliban forces were to be transferred by some means in the process.
The People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Labour Party of Turkey (TIP) are expected to vote against the war motion while the opposition Good Party is expected to vote in favour, alongside the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).