Turkish Parliament's bill authorizing military operations in Syria

“A new bill set to replace a resolution passed last year by the Turkish Parliament authorizing cross-border military operations in Syria might include some amendments, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said…”

Turkey's Parliament bill authorizing the Government to carry out military operations in Syria is illegal under international law.

The fact that it authorizes operations "in Syria” - and therefore outside Turkish borders - breaches Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. Furthermore, the persistence/continuation of such an authorization poses a threat to international peace and security in the region (as it authorizes operations in another country, threatening its sovereignty) - a matter which should be addressed by the Security Council.

Concerning the right to self-defence: Turkey, like any other country, has the right to self-defence. But the exercise of this right is certainly not unlimited.

Requirements of self-defence: It must be necessary and instant, and the acts done - in self-defence - must not be unreasonable or excessive, and the force used must be proportionate to the harm threatened or caused. Otherwise, the situation turns into an act of aggression. In other words, a country can only defend itself against an imminent or actual armed attack - while abiding by the aforementioned rules.

On this basis, Turkey can defend its own territory, but it cannot enter another country’s territory.

Given the above-mentioned requirements, the right to self-defence cannot serve as a “justification” for such an authorization by the Turkish Parliament. In addition, the right to self-defence must not be abused or used as a pretext in order to invade or occupy the territory of another country. 

In conclusion, the authorization should be rescinded.