Starting Tuesday Turkey’s parliament began a closed session on the situation in Idlib province, where Erdogan’s military adventurism to protect al-Qaeda linked factions coming under Russian-Syrian air power is resulting in mounting Turkish troop casualties and the potential for escalation with the Russians, not to mention a new ‘state of war’ footing with Damascus.
Near daily new dead and wounded have been reported after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed on Feb. 27 in an airstrike blamed by Ankara on Syria — but widely believed to have been carried out by Russia.
Underscoring the mounting domestic anger and divide over Erdogan’s getting the Turkish Army more deeply bogged down in northwest Syria — after he days ago declared a large military offensive against pro-Assad forces — a large brawl erupted in parliament Wednesday after an MP lashed out at President Erdogan over his reckless Syria policy.
“Video footage of the fist fight was captured and released to the public by several channels after the closed parliamentary session,” Mideast news site Al Masdar reported of the dramatic footage which captured the fight.
🔴Meclis Genel Kurulu’nda yumruklu kavga
🔗Meclis Genel Kurulu’nda AKP’li ve CHP’li milletvekilleri arasında yumruklu kavga yaşandı.
👇CHP Grup Başkanvekili Engin Özkoç’un konuşması sırasında başlayan kavga sonrası oturuma 10 dakika ara verildi. pic.twitter.com/tV3f6cFuz7
— dokuz8HABER (@dokuz8haber) March 4, 2020
Journalist Ali Ornek reports the fist fight was triggered over scathing comments from People’s Republican MP Engin Özkoç offered toward Erdogan.
“Are you looking for Satan? You are the Satan cutting deals with the U.S. (for Idlib) You sent our soldiers to die for this,” the opposition MP said.
— NewsBlog | breaking (@NBbreaking) March 4, 2020
Blaming Erdogan for the needless deaths of dozens of troops was enough to unleash chaos among the assembled politicians, and fists flew in the legislature which has actually witnessed multiple physical altercations in past years.
The Associated Press reports the following further details:
Fighting is a frequent occurrence in Turkey’s parliament. The clash on Wednesday started when Engin Ozkoc of the opposition Republican People’s Party took the rostrum. During a news conference shortly before, Ozkoc called Erdogan “dishonorable, ignoble, low and treacherous.”
He also accused the president of sending the children of Turkey’s people to fight while Erdogan’s own offspring allegedly avoided long-term military service.
Erdogan had actually addressed the assembly Wednesday, which included statements on the developeing refugee crisis, after he said Turkey has effectively ‘opened the gates’.
Opposition parties have vehemently opposed military intervention in Idlib while calling for peace talks with Damascus. It’s proving increasingly costly for Turkey, also as multiple of its drones have been shot down over Idlib in the past few days alone.