Turkish MPs have voted to extend, for a year, the authorisation of troops to Syria and Iraq to fight “Islamic State” (IS) militants. The mandate passed, despite resistance from the pro-Kurdish opposition.
The Turkish parliament convened for an extraordinary session to lengthen the current military mandate for another 12 months. The existing directive expires on October 2.
The decision came weeks after the Ankara government increased its role in the US-led coalition fighting the jihadist group.
Turkey will also continue to allow the US air force to use the Incirlik airbase to launch strikes against IS in the two war-torn countries.
The ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) submitted the motion to parliament last week, citing “increased risks and threats against Turkey’s national security along the southern borders.”
The authorisation also referred to a significant increase in “armed terrorist elements” in northern Iraq and Syria, hinting at the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is fighting for independence in southern Turkey.
In July, the Turkish airforce bombed PKK camps in northern Iraq, blaming an increase in attacks on its security forces by the Kurdish militant group.
The Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) voted against the extension of the mandate, forcing the government to rely on two other parties to get the motion passed.
The increased commitment to fighting IS militants was approved despite a political crisis that has failed to see a permanent coalition government formed since elections in June.
Turks will head to the polls once again on November 1, following the failure to form a coalition government last month.
Despite having the second-largest military land force in NATO, Turkey has vowed it wouldn’t send ground troops into Syria, unless its national security was threatened.