Turkey, U.S Agree to Coordinate Operation against ISIS amid Turmoil

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Demirtas: Not Only the HDP, but the Whole of Turkey Wants Peace

Turkish and U.S. military officials have concluded talks that resulted in an agreement regarding the cooperation of the two countries on efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), reported the Associated Press (AP). Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that a Turkey-U.S. coordinated operation against ISIS would begin soon, while speaking to reporters on Aug. 25.

Mevlut Cavusoglu

While Cavusoglu did not provide details about the operation, he did say that the military authorities of both countries have signed off on the agreement.

On July 22, U.S. President Barrack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to carry out joint airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Several Western news outlets praised the fact that Turkey has joined forces with the U.S. in the fight against extremism. Since the agreement, though, it has become apparent that the main target of Turkey’s offensive has not been ISIS but, rather, the Kurds—the sole force in the region that has proven effective in combating ISIS.

Thousands have been detained in the country in raids over the past month. While Turkish officials have claimed that the raids target suspected members of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), ISIS, and the Marxist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C), Agence France-Presse (AFG) reported that the overwhelming majority of detainees were Kurds suspected of being PKK members.

So far, more than 65 Turkish military and police officers, and more than 800 people the government has identified as armed militants have been killed, according to the state-run Anadolu News Agency.


Interim Government Appointed, Snap Elections Called

President Erdogan appointed Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to head an interim government on Aug. 24, after Davutoglu failed to form a coalition since the June parliamentary elections and the party lost its 12-year majority rule largely because of the success of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (HDP) that broke the 10 percent barrier and received around 13 percent of the votes, gaining 80 seats in parliament. Erdogan also called for snap elections, which are scheduled to take place on Nov. 1.

When asked about the interim government, HDP Co-Chairman Selahattin Demirtas said that his party is ready to take on three ministries until the elections. “Six million people voted [for us] and they have a right over three ministries,” said Demirtas, speaking to reporters in Ankara on Aug. 25, reported Reuters.

Selahattin Demirtas

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is likely to have 12 ministries; the Republican People’s Party (CHP) seven, while the HDP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will each get three ministries.

Erdogan’s ruling AKP garnered around 41 percent of the votes (258 seats) in Turkey’s June 7 general elections, while CHP earned 25 percent (132 seats) and MHP 16 percent (80 seats). Armenians Garo Paylan (HDP), Markar Esayan (AKP), and Selina Özuzun Doğan (CHP), were elected as Members of Parliament.

The AKP needed 367 seats in order to introduce the “new constitution,” an objective President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had talked about on many occasions. The new constitution would have turned Turkey from a parliamentary system into an executive presidency, giving the president more powers. The AKP’s support was down from the 50 percent (327 seats) it received in the 2011 elections.


Demirtas: Government Must Abandon Hostile Policies

While speaking to reporters in Ankara, Demirtas urged Erdogan and the government to call for an end to the violence that has spread throughout the country and taken a toll on all people of Turkey. “Not only the HDP, but the whole of Turkey wants peace,” Demirtas was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.

Demirtas also reportedly said that the principle intention of the government’s policies over the past month has been to prevent the HDP from passing the ten percent threshold needed to secure parliamentary seats in the upcoming snap elections. “These hostile policies should be immediately abandoned. They [the government] have dragged the country into war and they will surely be held to account for this. They should abandon cries like ‘we will fight to the end’ and ‘we will sacrifice our children.’ Our main issue at the moment is about silencing arms,” Demirtas was quoted as saying.

Two days earlier, on Aug. 23, Demirtas called on the PKK to stop their violence against security forces.  “There is no alternative for us. More deaths of Kurds, Turks, soldiers, guerillas and police must be stopped,” Hurriyet quoted Demirtas as saying.

The post Turkey, U.S Agree to Coordinate Operation against ISIS amid Turmoil appeared first on Armenian Weekly.

Source: Armenian Weekly
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