President Erdoğan seeks parliamentary approval to extend troop deployment in the Gulf of Aden amid rising tensions fueled by U.S. and U.K. strikes on Yemen.

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    President Erdoğan seeks parliamentary approval to extend troop deployment in the Gulf of Aden amid rising tensions fueled by U.S. and U.K. strikes on Yemen.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has forwarded a proposal to extend the deployment of Turkish naval forces in the Gulf of Aden, Somali territorial waters, and the Arabian Sea to Parliament. The current mandate is set to expire on February 10, but the

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has forwarded a proposal to extend the deployment of Turkish naval forces in the Gulf of Aden, Somali territorial waters, and the Arabian Sea to Parliament. The current mandate is set to expire on February 10, but the motion seeks an additional year, marking the 14th extension. The proposal, likely to be ratified by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party)-dominated Parliament, cites United Nations Security Council resolutions from 2008 as the basis for the troop mandate, aimed at combating piracy and related crimes in the region.

The motion highlights the deployment's role in securing Turkish-flagged and commercial vessels associated with Türkiye, contributing to joint operations against sea piracy and maritime terrorism. It also emphasizes the facilitation of humanitarian relief deliveries to the region and the enhancement of the Turkish army's naval components' regional experience. Additionally, the motion asserts that the deployment supports national policies regarding relevant countries, strengthens Türkiye's regional and international role within the U.N. system, and enhances its "visibility" in the global community.

The Gulf of Aden, situated near Yemen and the Bab al-Mandeb strait, a crucial oil transit chokepoint, holds strategic importance for Middle Eastern crude oil. Against this backdrop, tensions have surged in the Middle East following U.S. and British airstrikes in Yemen, responding to ongoing Houthi attacks on international shipping lanes in the Red Sea. President Joe Biden and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron have defended the strikes, while the Iranian-backed Houthis have vowed to continue military operations against Israel, raising concerns about a global supply chain crisis and increasing oil prices.

The motion underscores Türkiye's commitment to international cooperation against maritime piracy, citing active contributions to initiatives by the U.N., NATO, the European Union, and the International Maritime Organization. It also notes Türkiye's past involvement in NATO's Operation Ocean Shield and the upcoming command of the Combined Task Force 151 in the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, and the Arabian Sea.

President Erdoğan condemned the U.S. and British airstrikes, expressing concerns about the disproportionate use of force and warning that such actions could turn the Red Sea into a "bloodbath." The situation remains tense, with the Houthis firing an anti-ship cruise missile at a U.S. destroyer, prompting heightened caution and warnings for American-flagged vessels to avoid specified areas for 72 hours.

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