Turkey's Parliament authorizes military mandate to fight IS

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Oct. 2 (UPI) —

Turkey’s Parliament convened Thursday to debate the country’s military response to the threat posed by the Islamic State, and to vote on the Cabinet’s proposal.

The motion was passed with 298 votes in favor and 98 against.

According to the proposal, the Cabinet asked Parliament to authorize the deployment of "Turkish Armed Forces, if necessary, to foreign countries for cross-border operations and interventions and to position foreign militaries in Turkey for the same purposes."

Legislators with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voted in favor while the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) opposed the mandate.

CHP leader Kemal KÄ ±lÄ ±Ãƒ §daroÄ Ÿlu, speaking to reporters before the debate, criticized the focus of the motion before Parliament because "it is about struggling against Syria" rather than the Islamic State.

KÄ ±lÄ ±Ãƒ §daroÄ Ÿlu pointed out that "ISIL has offices in Turkey. They have units that gather members in Turkey. All of these things are known." Therefore, he suggested, "Turkey should take an open stance if it wants to fight against ISIL."

With the motion’s passage, Turkey can now deploy its troops in Iraq and Syria, and permit foreign forces to operate from Turkish bases and transit the country as they carry out anti-IS operations.

The mandate will be in effect for one year.

In his address to Parliament, Defense Minister Ä °smet YÄ ±lmaz said: "The threat against Turkey has gained a new dimension. It’s our obligation to take measures against this threat and to protect our citizens in the frame of international law."