Turkish Armed Forces set to prepare troops for possible cross-border operation

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
Published 03.06.2016 00:46

Amid threats to Turkey from terrorist organizations such as DAESH, the PKK and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as well as other similar organizations, ministers at Monday's Cabinet meeting agreed on critical regulations regarding government institutions' duties, including the Foreign Ministry being tasked to deploy troops in case of a possible cross-border military operation.

According to the regulation published in the government's Official Gazette upon the Cabinet and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's approval, the Foreign Ministry and National Defense Ministry will begin expropriating the military while the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has been assigned to prepare special troops for a possible cross-border operation. While circles in Ankara discuss a possible military operation on the DAESH stronghold of Raqqa in Syria as part the U.S.-led anti-DAESH coalition's operations, some have said the Cabinet's approval of the regulation on the "Enforcement of Principles Concerning Very High Readiness Joint Task Force Operations" is highly critical for possible future developments.

As part of the regulation, the Foreign Ministry was given the charge of border crossings, deployment and stationing troops as well as coordination between institutions. The General Staff has been assigned the responsibility for all troops and their preparation. The General staff is also responsible for determining which troops are to be deployed domestically and internationally. The National Defense Ministry is responsible for expropriating troops that will be deployed domestically. The Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communication Ministry will determine the troops' route and provide the air and marine ports when communicating during loading and unloading operations.

An Implementation and Coordination Committee will be established to coordinate the responsibilities of the institutions. The committee will also be responsible of the usage of air, ground and naval bases as well as the borders. If troops do cross the border, the committee will create all plans in a minimum of five days. The resolution says any costs that may result from foreign troops coming to Turkey and passing to another country from Turkey will be shared among those countries. The security of foreign troops, whether they are stationed in Turkey or transit to another country, will be provided by the TSK.

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