HDP says approving parliamentary motion means reaffirming OHAL

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Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson Osman Baydemir / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party spokesperson Osman Baydemir has said approving a parliamentary motion to extend a mandate for another year allowing the Turkish government to conduct cross-border operations means reaffirming a state of emergency, known as OHAL, declared by the government immediately after a coup attempt in July 2016.

An extension of the mandate allowing the government to conduct cross-border operations in Iraq and Syria after the holding of a referendum on independence on Sunday by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq will be discussed during an extraordinary session in the General Assembly on Saturday.

Baydemir argued during a press meeting on Friday that approving the parliamentary motion would mean supporting the wrong foreign policies of the government.

“Those saying yes to this motion will also say ‘yes’ to OHAL. They will also say ‘yes’ to the wrong Middle Eastern policy of the AKP-MHP [Justice and Development Party-Nationalist Movement Party] and enmity against Kurds.”

The opposition MHP announced that it would support the AKP government for the extension of the motion.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy group chair Engin Altay said his party would support the parliamentary motion “if it strengthens the Turkish Armed Forces’ hand in the anti-terror fight.”

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the motion would give Turkey the right to conduct operations if its national security is threatened.

Yıldırım renewed his warning and asked the KRG to cancel the referendum, saying: “This referendum will not do any good to our Kurdish brothers. It will not be good for the region.”

In October of last year, Parliament approved an extension of the mandate of the Turkish Armed Forces to conduct military operations in Iraq and Syria for another year. The mandate was first approved in 2007. In 2014, it was extended to include Syria for possible operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria and other groups.

Despite growing international pressure to call off the referendum, which Iraq’s neighbors, including Turkey and Iran, fear will fuel unrest among their own Kurdish populations, Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan and leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), said they would hold the referendum on Sept. 25 but may discuss the process with Baghdad. Barzani said a separation of Kurdistan from Iraq could take up to two years.

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