Parliament approved a motion to extend Turkey's military mandate for Iraq and Syria for one year on Saturday. Parliament convened in an extraordinary session to extend from Oct. 30 2017 to Oct. 30, 2018, as Turkey's three main parties previously voiced their support for the extension.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım held a brief meeting with main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli during an extraordinary parliamentary session over the military mandate for Iraq on Saturday.
The extraordinary parliamentary session followed a National Security Council (MGK) meeting that took place Friday in the aftermath of the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) insistence on holding an independence referendum, despite international opposition.
Speaking on the issue yesterday, PM Yıldırım criticized the KRG referendum, stating that it is illegal and regardless of its result, those who are responsible for it will pay the price.
"A status change in Turkey's southern borders, a new establishment can never be welcomed by Turkey. The KRG referendum is illegitimate and declared null and void. The KRG that insists on this referendum alone without consulting its public, despite resistance from all the other nations and U.N., will be responsible for the possible developments following this referendum," Yıldırım said.
He added that the referendum will not bring solution to any of the KRG's problem and will not solve any problems between the KRG and the Iraqi central government. He contended that it will only "fuel the instability, the lack of authority and chaos within the region" and people who live there will pay the price for it.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced on Saturday that it has raised the level of a military drill it has been conducting near the Turkish-Iraqi border for the past six days.
The military said it would now hold the second stage of the drill; the exercise will continue with the participation of additional troops.
Military exercises started on Monday - just a week before the KRG referendum near the town of Silopi, close to the Habur border gate between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdish region. The military did not provide details on the drill but said anti-terror operations in the region would simultaneously continue at the same speed as the exercises.