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Turkish Parliament approves one year extension of troop mandate in Syria and Iraq

The move comes as Erdogan threatens harsh measures against Kurdish separatism in Iraq.

ANKARA (Sputnik) – The Turkish parliament on Saturday approved a motion to extend a mandate, authorizing military operations in Syria and Iraq for one year, in the light of a scheduled referendum on independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, which Ankara strongly opposes, according to the voting results.

The parliament held an extraordinary session to decide on the mandate, which was valid until October 30.

The Iraqi Kurdistan authorities have called the vote for September 25, drawing international criticism. The UN Security Council warned Thursday the referendum might destabilize the region still threatened by radical Islamist militancy.

The mandate was supported by the ruling Justice and Development Party, far-right Nationalist Movement Party, center-left Republican People’s Party, while the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party voted against the bill.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag demanded the referendum’s cancellation. The official said that Kurds still had time to change their mind, citing lack of support for the vote among the region’s ethnic Turkmen and Arab residents.

READ MORE: 

Iraq’s Kurdish regions may end up under Turkish rule

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