The Position of Turkey in the War against ISIS

The whole world turned their attention towards Turkey and Iran lately.  The reason for this is based on what decision these two major actors will take in the war against ISIS. As discussions continue, the Turkish Parliament ratified the Syria-Iraq motion on October 2.  The motion received support from 298 members of the 550 seat parliament. While the governing Ak Party and the Nationalist Movement Party voted yes, 98 members of main opposition Republican People’s Party and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party and some independent members of the Parliaments voted against the motion, which authorizes the government to deploy troops to Syria and Iraq in case of any threat to our country.

SEE ALSO: Turkey’s Executive Decision
SEE ALSO: PKK is a greater threat than ISIL to Turkey and the Middle East

There are many diverse opinions about this motion. While the opposition parties analogize this with the March 1 bill that didn’t pass the vote of parliament in 2003 pertaining to the American invasion of Iraq, other experts liken it with the Poised Hammer Bill of 1991. Factually, there are technical differences between the current Syria-Iraq Bill and the aforementioned two bills.

The March 1 bill was related to a de facto combat operation to another country to defeat Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It also permitted the use of the Turkish Military Force  (TSK) and the deployment of the foreign troops within the borders of Turkey.  The current motion does not include any clauses related to the deployment of any international troops nor permitting the Incirlik base to be used in military operations. Turkey is not in favor nor does it consider being modus operandi in an offensive military operation.  The purpose of the bill is self-defense, protecting Turkish borders, and the safeguard of civilians and refugees.  National security is the main concern in this approach.

The Poised Hammer bill was ratified in order to plan an operation in conjunction with the United Nations.  The operation was intended to save the lives of the Shia, Kurds and Turkmens from Iraq in 1991. In the course of the operation 500,000 Iraqi sought refuge in Turkey in 1991 and Turkey allowed the deployment of foreign troops in Silopi only for the humanitarian aid.  Thus the troops were named Poised Hammer. It is apparent that the current bill is not similar to the other ones relating to Iraq in any way.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a bill for war or invasion whatsoever rather for the security of Turkey’s border and the civilians who fled from both Syria and Iraq due to the current violent circumstances. Turkey has never applied nor intended to partake in combatant operations within the scope of NATO’s and UN’s operations or missions.

Given the recent intense influx of Kurdish citizens from Kobane, Turkey must take urgent steps to safely allow the passage of refugees and also protect the security of the country’s border.  Turkey must also consider the economic impact of hosting more than 2 million civilians for the last three years –a number that is constantly rising. A secure zone inside the border of Syria is the best option for providing safety for the affected civilians who are fleeing for their lives. Also, significant is that Necdet Özel, Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, along with his commanders stated this by addressing the Cabinet during a briefing. In the course of March 1 bill, even though it was discussed in the Turkish Armed Forces, the Chief Commander did not brief the Cabinet separately. In his briefing, he underlined the importance of convincing the coalition members on forming security zones. He also stressed that a non-fly air zone would not be sufficient and would only be effective along with secure zones on the ground, since both ISIS and PYD combat on the ground and have no aircrafts.

It is of vital importance for Turkey to operate within the scope of humanitarian assistance and logistics of the displaced people. Turkey should show that it is not part of this combat to kill but rather a protector of the innocent people. It should never lose its moral superiority and make its position clear in this mission. It should never take sides with the ones who claim retaliation and killing as a solution but should be the one to advocate that the protection of the civilians is what matters.  It should always be on the side of diplomacy, soft-power, and effectively administer an intellectual struggle to defeat the opponents that resort to violence and persecution.

Adnan Oktar's piece on Arabian Gazette & Daily Mail & News Rescue:

2014-10-22 16:26:02

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