Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has surprised many after his party’s victory in the local elections by declaring that Turkey is at war with Syria. Experts, however, say the declaration is problematic in a legal sense.
Onur Öymen, the former deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told Today’s Zaman that Erdoğan’s remarks about declaring war on Syria do not comply with either national law or the principles of international law. “Turkey cannot declare war on a country unless an attack happens first. This [declaring war] is not possible without a reason,” said Öymen.
During his “balcony speech,” Erdoğan, surrounded by a former Cabinet minister and family members who have been implicated in alleged corruption, stressed that Syria is in a state of war with Turkey. He also criticized the leaking of a recorded conversation concerning whether Turkey should conduct a military operation in Syria ahead of Sunday’s elections, allegedly between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and certain government officials.
“How can you threaten our national security? Syria is in a state of war with us. They are harassing our planes. They have martyred 74 of our brothers, and the Tomb of Süleyman Şah is our land. An attack on there is an attack on 780,000 square kilometers. Can we remain silent about such a thing? But these traitors wiretapped this meeting and leaked it to the world,” the prime minister said in his speech.
The audio recording, which was uploaded to YouTube on March 26, reveals a top-secret conversation allegedly between Davutoğlu, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler. Today’s Zaman could not independently verify the authenticity of the audio nor could it determine when or how it was recorded.
In his remarks, Öymen recalled that in October of last year Parliament approved a government motion to renew a mandate to send troops to Syria in case of a possible attack. “Unfortunately, Erdoğan is using the war argument for his domestic political agenda,” Öymen added.
During the vote on the motion, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voted in favor of the motion, while the main opposition CHP and pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) voted against… see more