Opposition CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and his partner, the IYI Party leader Meral Aksener, expressed support to extend the military’s mandate in northeastern Syria.
Most of Turkey’s opposition parties have expressed their support for Turkey’s upcoming military operation deep in northern Syria as they voted to extend the army’s mandate to stay inside Syrian territory on Tuesday.
While both Aksener and Kilicdaroglu are fierce critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they are supportive of the military operation. Like Erdogan, they are also concerned about the YPG presence in northern Syria.
The YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the EU. The PKK has led a three-decades-long terror campaign against the Turkish state, costing tens of thousands of lives across the country.
Opposing the PKK and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq and Iran is a national concern for almost all of Turkey’s political parties except the HDP, which has been accused by Turkish officials of being linked with PKK leadership in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq.
As a result, Turkey’s political parties have historically supported operations against the PKK and its affiliates across the Middle East no matter who governs the country.
But the two parties, the CHP and the IYI Party, which have formed the country’s Nation Alliance to challenge the AK Party’s alliance with the MHP, called the People’s Alliance, differ on the prospects of the operation.
After announcing his support to the long-planned operation, CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu came out with a long list of complaints about Turkey’s Syria engagement while Kilicdaroglu’s nationalist partner, Meral Aksener, the IYI Party leader, promised full-fledged support to the country’s third cross-border operation.
“I am calling Erdogan to go inside east of the Euphrates (River) to break up terror corridor there,” Aksener said, during her party’s weekly group parliamentary meeting on Tuesday.
“Both us and our nation expects them to do this,” Aksener continued.
“We are on the side of our soldiers, Mehmetcik [the common name used by the Turks to describe ordinary soldiers] and our state,” Aksener concluded.