A motion authorising the Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan to conduct cross-border military operations in Iraq and Syria for a further two years has been passed in the Turkish parliament on Tuesday.
While the representatives for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), its coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the opposition Good Party (İyi Parti) voted in favour, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and the socialist Labour Party of Turkey (TİP) voted against the motion.
After previous votes on war motions when HDP traditionally stood out as the only opposing party in the face of fierce nationalist rhetoric, the last vote was notable being a rare occasion that the CHP sided with the HDP against a voting alliance of the ruling coalition parties and İyi Parti, who apart from this vote is otherwise a part of the opposition alliance led by the CHP.
HDP MP and co-spokesperson for foreign affairs, Hişyar Özsoy said in his speech before the vote that there was no logic in saying that the cross-border military operations in Syria were conducted for Turkey’s self-defence. To demonstrate that there wasn’t, he referred to data provided by ACLED, an international project monitoring and analysing armed conflicts thorughout the world.
“The attacks by Turkey in Syrian soil amounts up to around 3400… 3400 attacks between January 2017 and August 2020, carried out by Turkey and its proxies,” he said. “They say there’s a security threat against us from that country, that this is the reason for all the military build-up. Mathematically this is quite baseless.”
Hişyar also challenged the claim by the Turkish administration that a military presence in Syria would serve to prevent new waves of refugees.
“We have refugees exactly because of our military presence there. If we don’t stop this war, if Syria isn’t able to rebuild itself, it would be only natural that people will be coming here. You are tearing the country of these people apart. Where do you suppose they’ll go? This war motion, this policy of war means more and more refugees coming to Turkey.”
Özsoy stated that the military operations under the pretense of fighting terror, both in Iraq and Syria, were carried out with the main objective of destroying the political gains of the Kurdish people.
“‘Fighting terror’ in this context actually means saying, ‘I do not recognize the Kurdish Question.’ And it also means saying, ‘Even if I do recognise it, I don’t have the political will to resolve it.'”