Turkey’s opposition parties denounce potential solo military operation in northern Syria

Turkey’s two main opposition parties condemned the government’s decision to conduct unilateral cross-border operations against Kurdish forces in northern Syria, following the US green light to the potential Turkish incursion.

The deputy head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said “their main security aim in Syria is an immediate end to war and bring about peace.” Submitting a 25-point initiative on Syria in a Monday press conference, the senior party official warned Turkey too could be consumed by warfare if it conducted a unilateral military operation.

“If Syria is filled with bloodshed, so Turkey will be,” Unal Cevikoz warned.

Turkey has been “practicing wrong foreign politics with determination despite warnings” since 2011, he said.

Turkey and the US agreed in August to establish a so-called “safe zone” in northern Syrian to later be turned into a “peace corridor” for the return of millions of Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey since the rise of Syrian unrest in 2011.

Engin Ozgoc, deputy head of the CHP bloc in Turkish parliament said the US has “opened an arena to Turkey without identifying its [arena’s] borders” in a tweet.

“They are leaving us ISIS members whom they and the EU could not sweep … We should not forget that we are currently under a great threat,” added the lawmaker.

One of Turkey’s aims in the potential operation is to drive out the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from its borders. Turkey considers the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (YPG) – a US-allied force making up the backbone of the SDF – the Syrian terrorist offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been involved in a decades-long war with the Turkish state.

Adding their voice to the condemnation, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said a possible Turkish operation is “the worst threat and most wrong step,” adding that Syria needs to be relieved from long-fought war.

“The objective of this step is not to preserve the territorial integrity of Syria or establish a democratic regime, but to carry out a [military] operation in Syrian territory and make demographic changes there,” an HDP statement read.

Giran Ozcan, head of the HDP office in the United States, told Rudaw English that Turkey’s confrontational stance is not limited to Syrian Kurds, but those in Iraq, Iran and Turkey too.

“The Turkish state has announced war against all Kurdish forces, including us in Bakur [southeast Turkey]. This policy is practiced in all parts of [Greater] Kurdistan,” he said.

Asked what he suggests for Syrian Kurds in the face of a possible Turkish incursion, Ozcan said Syrian Kurds must rely on no other force but themselves.

The Kurdish politician added that the HDP has “always” sided with peace through “political means” rather than war.

There has been no statement from the opposition IYI (Good) Party.

Turkey’s launch of a cross-border operation may wait until US troops are out and the Turkish parliament renews its permission for its military’s cross-border operations.

Turkish parliament will soon meet to vote for the renewal of permission which will expire on October 30, reported Haberturk.