The long awaited and much debated motion cleared Parliament giving the government the mandate to send troops across the border to Iraq and Syria in case of serious threats to Turkey's security and allowing foreign troops to be stationed on Turkish soil to help in the ordeal.
Whether Turkey will send troops across the border to Iraq and Syria, establish a security belt across the border to house the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the horrors of Iraq and Syria inside that zone, participate in the firefight against the religious extremists of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and invite international coalition forces on its soil remains to be seen.
However, what is clear is that Turkey is serving a clear notice to its friends and foes alike that it is prepared for all eventualities and has taken all the legal measures and will not hesitate to put them in force when necessary. This means Turkey is taking its own initiative to help solve the chaotic mess that has been created in Iraq and Syria thanks to those who are now complaining about the ISIS threat. Turkey feels the fight against ISIS cannot be conducted effectively if the Assad regime stands in its place. Turkey also feels, while military tactics are important to fight ISIS, you also need other approaches to eradicate the support ISIS gets from effective and influential local sources. That is how Turkey managed to rescue its 49 hostages from the hands of the ISIS militants in Mosul.
Turkey may take part in the coalition set up under the leadership of the Americans in some form but that will not prevent Ankara from taking its own steps to end the mess at its doorstep. Turkey is and will always remain a central player and will not accept outside pressure or interference when its national security and interests are in question because it feels anything that happens in Iraq and Syria under the current chaotic situation interests Turkey directly more than any other country in the region or in the West. That is why Turkey wants to be behind the steering wheel blending the possible contributions of the coalition with its own initiatives.
This will be discussed with the ranking American officials who will be visiting Ankara next week.
Turkey wants to keep Iraq and Syria intact. Turkey wants to secure the future of the Kurds in Iraq and Syria as much as it cares for the Kurds of Turkey. Turkey also wants to see the Iraqi Arab Sunnis live safely and in welfare. But Turkey also wants all of these people to respect the rights and welfare of the Turkmens living in Iraq and Syria.
The fact that the mandate cleared Parliament so easily should also be a message to the outside world of the sentiments of the Turks. The fact that so many deputies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) were not in Turkey (they were in Mecca for the Hajj) and that several of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputies did not participate in the vote allowing the government to get the mandate shows that Turks are unanimous that Turkey's borders should be secured.
Of course it is a great shame for us Muslims that we are talking about mandates, firefights, organizations like ISIS that simply bring Islam into disrepute, sectarian struggle between believers in this festive season where we should be talking about the supreme values of Islam like compassion, mercy, self-sacrifice, patience, tolerance and love for all living creations and last but not least the mission to secure peace and tranquility.
With these feelings we wish all our Muslim readers a happy and safe Eid al-Adha.