By Emin Avundukluoğlu
Turkey’s parliament on Saturday ratified a motion to extend for another year approval for the deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq and Syria.
The motion was approved by a large majority in the assembly.
Deputies from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) joined ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party deputies in backing the motion, while opposition People's Democratic Party (HDP) deputies voted it down.
Parliament's decision in an extraordinary session came after northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) refused to cancel its plans for an independence referendum, set for next Monday, Sept. 25.
The motion -- submitted by Premier Binali Yildirim's AK Party government -- had previously allowed the Turkish military to carry out cross-border operations from Oct. 2, 2016, until Oct. 31, 2017.
The motion stated that Turkey places great importance on the protection of Iraq's territorial integrity, national unity, and stability.
The non-binding referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad -- vote on whether to secede from Iraq.
Along with Baghdad, Turkey, the U.S., Iran, and the UN have all spoken out against the poll, saying it will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.
Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.
The KRG’s leader, Masoud Barzani, has said approval of the referendum would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.