Turkey submits request to parliament for Syria, Iraq military action01 october 2014, 11:03
The Turkish government on Tuesday said it has asked parliament to authorise military action in Iraq and Syria to halt the advance of Islamic State (IS) jihadists, AFP reports.
Lawmakers are due on Thursday to debate the motion after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ankara was going to take a more active role in the fight against IS.
"We drafted a text that will meet all the demands and eliminate the risks and threats," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters after a cabinet meeting that was unusually attended by Turkey's top general, Necdet Ozel.
"It will be a very extensive mandate, so that we don't require a new one in the future. It looks like a good text and hopefully all the parties in parliament will back it," Arinc told reporters in Ankara in televised comments.
Turkey has remained tight-lipped about what its military intervention will entail and Arinc indicated that parliament mandate will be kept as broad as possible to allow the government freedom to decide.
Ankara is being pressed by the West to allow the transit of its territory by Western and Arab forces carrying out air strikes against IS and to allow US jets to conduct sorties from its Incirlik air base.
But it could also go further by sending Turkish military forces to join the attacks against IS.
Arinc indicated all options were on the table, without committing to a course of action.
"It includes all of these options. We are a decisive government. We are well aware of what's going on in and around Turkey," he said.
Erdogan has pressed for the creation of a safe zone inside Syria -- backed by a no-fly zone -- to host refugees and ensure Turkey's security.
But it remains unclear how a safe zone extending from the Turkish border deep inside Syria could be created without a major incursion by ground troops that would be hugely risky.
IS militants advancing on the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane to the Kurds, have now moved to within a few kilometres of the Turkish border.
Ankara has justified its low-key role so far in the fight against IS by saying its hands were tied by concerns over the fate of dozens of Turkish hostages abducted by IS in Iraq.
But these hostages were freed in early September, prompting what Erdogan has acknowledged as a major change in Turkish policy.