Turkey clears action against ISIS

TURKEY-ANKARA-PM-KIDNAPPED CITIZENSThe Turkish parliament  passed a motion to authorise cross-border military actions in neighbouring Syria and Iraq to fight terrorist groups.

Of the 396 parliament deputies who voted at Thursday’s session, some 298 voted for the motion while the rest 98 against, Xinhua reported.

The decision will grant the government a one-year mandate to send Turkish Armed Forces, “if necessary”, “to foreign countries for cross-border operations and interventions and to position foreign militaries in Turkey for the same purposes”.

“The terrorist elements of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party still exist in northern Iraq. On the other hand, the significant increase in the number of other terrorist elements in Syria and the threat posed by them in Iraq is also alarming,” according to the motion, which specifically cited “increasing security risks over use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime”.

The motion also cited as its impetus the growing security risks against the tomb of Suleyman Sah, as the Islamic State (IS) Sunni radical group is reportedly advancing toward the burial place of the grandfather of the Osman l, founder of the Ottoman Empire.

The tomb in Syria is the only Turkish territory outside the borders of the country, which is guarded by some 40 Turkish soldiers. Ankara has previously warned that any attack against the tomb will be retaliated accordingly.

The Turkish parliament earlier authorised the government to launch cross-border operations in Iraq and Syria, but it did not include deployment of foreign troops on Turkish territory.

Earlier this month, Turkey refrained from becoming part of a group of countries that pledged support to the central government in Baghdad in its fight against the IS. It also refused to sign a communique that supports a US-led international campaign against the militant group.

Turkey said its hands were tied due to 46 Turkish citizens and three Iraqi nationals who were kidnapped by the IS at the Turkish consulate general in Mosul in June. Those hostages were released and brought back to Turkey Sep 20.