Turkish Parliament convenes to vote on a motion which would allow the government to authorise cross-border military incursions against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, and allow coalition forces to use Turkish territory, in Ankara October 2, 2014. (Reuters / Umit Bektas)
The Turkish army received the go-ahead from the country’s parliament to engage in military action against Islamic State insurgents in Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, a senior NATO official said the bloc’s involvement is “practically” possible.
Ankara lawmakers on Thursday also authorized foreign forces on Turkish territory when participating in operations against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
“The rising influence of radical groups in Syria threatens Turkey’s national security…The aim of this mandate is to minimize as much as possible the impact of the clashes on our borders,” Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz told parliament.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
Parliament approved the new one-year mandate, with 298 deputies voting in favor and 98 against the motion.
However, no specific commitments have been made just yet. “You shouldn’t expect any move immediately after the mandate” passes, Yilmaz told reporters before the parliament vote on Thursday.
Part of the mandate dealing with foreign troops in Turkey directly references US pressure on Ankara to permit the use of Incirlik air base in the Adana region, located in the south of the country.
Parliament’s decision followed a change in the nation’s defense policy signaled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week as Islamic State fighters came close to the Turkish border with northern Syria.
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