Kılıçdaroğlu opposes military intervention in Syria in WSJ article

October 23, 2012, Tuesday/ 16:59:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu wrote in his article published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday that the issue of Syrians seeking shelter in Turkey should not be used as a pretext to intervene into Syria, as it is “a fight that Turks simply do not want.”

In the article entitled “Turkey Can't Afford Its Saber-Rattling,” Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkish Parliament's mandate to conduct military operations against the embattled Assad regime, a decision that was reached after several exchanges of fire across the Turkish-Syrian border, has brought the tension between the two countries, once the closest of allies in the region, to a new phase. However, the hard-power path the Turkish government appears to be taking could lead to a disastrous escalation of violence.

Commenting on the increasing refugee numbers fleeing from war-torn Syria into Turkey, the main opposition leader said that Turkey is a secure place for the refugees and the CHP is backing the government's humanitarian aid efforts.

“But we oppose using the refugee issue as a pretense for meddling in Syrian affairs,” said Kılıçdaroğlu adding that the international community must ensure that all Syrian groups should have a voice in planning for the future of their country. According to Kılıçdaroğlu, right now the situation is stuck in a bloody stalemate with international actors providing arms to the internal factions that are serving their interests.

Although Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that Turkey is not seeking war, Parliament approved in early October a government motion that authorizes cross-border military operations.

Strictly criticizing Parliament's authorization for the use of military tools against Syria, Kılıçdaroğlu says that “authorization of war is risky and unwarranted,” as he thinks the situation will make Turkey get involved in a war in its neighborhood rather than becoming a party to its resolution.

“Even though polls, such as a recent survey by the German Marshall Fund [GMF], have found that a majority of Turks are opposed to the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) aggressive stance on Syria,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

According to the Transatlantic Trends 2012 public opinion survey released by the GMF, Turkish public opinion is opposed to outside intervention in the affairs of Syria, where there is a bloody internal conflict in which thousands have lost their lives.

Providing the reasoning for his party's opposition to the military intervention into Syria, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “We believe diplomacy is the only way to achieve peace in Syria. The removal of Assad cannot be the end goal; rather, the ultimate objective must be the establishment of a legitimate, democratic and secular regime to replace him. This will not be possible without negotiations that involve all parties,” adding the military intervention into Syrian affairs will bring the country to the brink of chaos and will only increase the bloodshed in Syria.

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