Parliament approved the new permit, which the government forwarded on grounds of “providing peace and stability.” The permit was adopted with 358 votes in favor and 183 votes against. 2 deputies abstained. The “October 7 permit” relieved Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who faced an unexpected result when 99 deputies of Justice and Development Party (AKP) voted against the March 1 permit. With this permit, the government aims to recover the relations with U.S. and make Turkey play an influential role in the region.
543 deputies participated in the permit voting, which has been the first session of the new legislative year in Parliament. 183 deputies cast votes against the permit, while 358 deputies voted affirmatively. 2 deputies abstained. Apart from AKP deputies, 3 deputies from True Path Party (DYP) also voted in favor of the permit. Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, and Sadik Yakut, who chaired the session, did not vote.
NEWS FROM BAGHDAD
Republican People's Party (CHP) took action as soon as the news that the Iraqi Interim Governance Council did not want Turkish troops in Iraq. CHP submitted a motion to halt the permit talks in Parliament. However this motion was rejected by the votes of AKP.
Nurettin Aktas (Gaziantep), Goksel Kucukali (Istanbul), Ertugrul Yalcinbayir (Bursa), Abdullah Caliskan (Adana), Ahmet Faruk Unsal (Adiyaman), and Halil Kaya (Van) were among the 7 deputies from AKP who cast votes against the permit.
Upon a question wether he was expecting such an outcome, Erdogan said, “You know our group is composed of 367 deputies. 3 of them were absent because of their illnesses. Our friend chairing the session and the Parliament Speaker did not vote. We hoped that no one would vote against but there are 2-3 deputies who did.”
A proxy voted on behalf of Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, who is abroad. On the other hand Independent deputies could not act as a bloc.
The European Union announced that the decision of Parliament, was a national one and they respected it. However Austrian TV station Ore claimed that “Turkey will send occupation forces to Iraq.”
TO BAGHDAD AFTER 86 YEARS
According to historical documents, the region in which today’s modern Iraq was founded, was conquered by Kanuni (Law-maker) Sultan Suleyman, an Ottoman sultan, in 1534 and remained as a province of the Ottoman Empire until 1918, the end of the World War I. Iraq was handed to the British administration in 1920 with the San Remo Conference. Modern Iraq was founded by the British by modifying Mosul, Baghdad, and the Gulf in accordance with a new formation.
IRAQI COUNCIL REJECTED TURKISH TROOPS
While the voting at Parliament to send troops was under way, the Iraqi Interim Governing Council rejected the presence of Turkish troops in Iraq, unanimously. The decision was announced by Mahmut Osman, one of the Kurdish members of the Council, who is known for his close relations with PKK-KADEK, to the international news agencies. However this decision announced by Osman was denied by the Turkish government. After a while Osman told AP that they prepared a communiqué stating that they did not want any Turkish troops in Iraq and they plan to issue it however the issuance was postponed upon the insistence of the American administration.
Three Turkish truck drivers were killed in Iraq. One of the drivers who was attacked, told NTV that “Iraqis do not want us there. This is the reason of the attack.”
GUL: THERE IS NO SUCH DECISION
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul denied the news that the Iraqi council rejected the military presence of Turkey in Iraq. Gul said, “This is not true. We have contacted the Turkoman member of the council. Such a decision is out of question. Only the members having Kurdish origin have such an intention.” Erdogan said, “According to the information that we received from the Foreign Ministry these claims have nothing to do with the reality.”
KURDS: WE WILL ASK FOR ASSURANCE
Fadil Merani, an official from Kurdistan Democrat Party, said that they would ask for a meeting with the representatives of the coalition forces and demand assurance.
TO SEZER: IT IS LEGITIMATE IF WE SAY SO
In the closed session of his party’s group meeting, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan responded to President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Deniz Baykal, the Chairman of Republican People's Party (CHP), who argue that there should be international legitimacy in order to send troops to Iraq. Erdogan said, “The name of UN is present but itself is absent. If it were present, it would have prevented the war in Iraq. Therefore we cannot seek legitimacy through UN. This is legitimate if we say so. The important thing is the national interests of Turkey.”
After the vote U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called Gul and thanked for the passage of the Permit. On his part Gul told him that “The stability of Iraq benefits all of us” and told Powell that they expected from U.S. to take concrete steps and to consider Turkey’s sensitivity in the talks to be held from now on.
Foreign Minister Gul reportedly told AKP deputies that “We shall be the 3rd strategic partner in Iraq, just like the British.”
Ertugrul Ozkok in his article “If That is National Will, So is This” says, “Turkey took the first important and historical decision of this Century. And did the right thing. Now no one should have anything to say.
“…The number of affirmative votes, in the case of the first permit was 14 more than that of the negative votes. This decision was accepted as a rejection, according to an interpretation of the regulations. Everybody praised Parliament that day and depicted this decision as the “victory of democracy.” Now, the very same Parliament took another decision. Those who viewed the first decision as the victory of democracy, should evaluate this one with the same measures and should respect it. In Turkey or abroad, no one should have anything to say for this decision. Moreover the ruling party did not feel the necessity to take a binding group decision while adopting this decision. Since this is also a decision of Parliament, similar to the firs permit, this country should back this decision from now on. The Turkish Armed Forces will be dispatched for an important and sacrificing duty for our country. While serving there, it should feel the backing of its state and people.”
Editor Oktay Eksi says “Republican People’s Party had rejected the March 1 Permit and it joined the Rejecting votes together with 7 deputies from AKP. In this sense, CHP is consistent. But it is very early to say that such a consistency stems from a calculation that “If things develop negatively in Iraq and Turkey falls into a difficult position, this will produce extra votes for us.”
“The truth is that, there are fine foreign policy experts both in CHP and Parliament. In contrast, because it followed the foot steps of some people unskilled in foreign policy practice, AKP made many thing go wrong and paved way for some negative developments.
“However, the decision which was taken yesterday, was inevitable under the current conditions of Turkey. Therefore we support Tayyip Erdogan and AKP in this decision...”