Turkey’s parliament today voted to extend by one year the mandate that allows their military to conduct operations across the border into neighboring Syria and Iraq, a move which was hotly opposed by the pro-Kurdish opposition.
The bill not only allows continued airstrikes against targets in those countries, but would allow outright ground invasions at the government’s discretion, though they maintain they have no specific intention to invade either country unless a “clear threat to national security” emerges.
Officials emphasized the ISIS war in this mandate, and their intentions to increase their involvement in the US-led war against them. As Turkey’s role in the ISIS war has been extremely limited, the mandate will likely be used much more for fighting the ever-escalating war against the Kurdish PKK.
Both the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government have criticized Turkey for attacking villages in northern Iraq during this new offensive against the PKK, though Turkey insists they are confident everyone in those villages are “terrorists” and not civilians.