Two pro-Kurdish parties have announced that they will vote against a parliamentary motion extending the government’s mandate to launch cross-border military operations in northern Iraq and Syria, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Tuesday.
The Turkish Parliament is expected this week to debate extending a presidential motion authorizing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to launch cross-border military operations in northern Iraq and Syria for two more years. The motion was submitted to parliament on Oct. 5.
The Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) and the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) on Tuesday stated that they would vote “no” on the motion, calling on other opposition parties to also “not endorse the government’s war policies.”
Referring to the motion as the “authorization for war against the Kurds,” DBP Co-chair Saliha Aydeniz said the sole reason it has been approved in parliament for years is to further exacerbate the Kurdish issue and leave it unresolved.
The Kurdish issue, a term prevalent in Turkey’s public discourse, refers to the demand for equal rights by the country’s Kurdish population and their struggle for recognition.
“[This motion] is an intervention in the life that Kurds want to establish in Rojava and Iraq. For this reason, this motion is not a security motion, but a motion against the existence, language, culture and life on their own lands of the Kurdish people,” Aydeniz said.
She noted that while the Kurdish issue should be democratically resolved in parliament, the government is attempting to consolidate its power through motions for cross-border warfare.
Aydeniz also urged other opposition parties to vote “no” on the motion in order to prevent polarization among people in Turkey.
“Let’s all come together and discuss the agenda where we will talk about solutions in parliament and play a role in improving democracy in the Middle East. … We also emphasize that the opposition should not play a role in these human rights violations [that will arise due to the motion],” Aydeniz said.
Turkey has been accused of denying its Kurdish citizens, which make up approximately 20 percent of its population, their political and cultural rights and pursuing policies aimed at their assimilation since the foundation of modern Turkey.
The ruling AKP launched talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leadership in 2012 in a bid to resolve the Kurdish problem, but the talks collapsed in 2015 after which the government allied with a far-right nationalist party and adopted a nationalist discourse, which further disenchanted Kurds.
The PKK, which has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s southeast since 1984, is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community.