Turkey’s parliament has voted by 320 to 129 in favour of authorising foreign military operations for a period of one year. This permits action in Syria if Ankara deems it necessary. The move comes following an attack by Syrian forces on the town of Akcakale on Wednesday that killed five civilians.
Police fired tear gas at a small group of anti-war protesters who had gathered outside the parliament building in the Turkish capital as deputies voted. They chanted ant-war slogans and asked for solidarity with their Syrian neighbours.
Turkey has fired at targets in Syria in response to what its government called aggressive action, which presented “additional risks” to the country’s security. It marks the first time in the 18 month conflict that it has attacked its neighbour.
Deputy Primer Minister Besir Atalay stressed that the decision to permit military operations was not a “war memorandum” and that the government’s priority was to work in coordination with international bodies.
The UN Security Council is set to meet following a request by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s government. NATO has already held an urgent meeting to support Turkey, demanding “the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally.