Brawl erupts in Turkey’s parliament over Syria involvement

World

Legislators push each other as a brawl breaks out in Turkey’s parliament in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. A fight broke out in the Turkish parliament between lawmakers from opposing parties during a tense discussion about Turkey’s military involvement in northwest Syria. (AP Photo)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A fight broke out in the Turkish parliament between lawmakers from opposing parties Wednesday during a tense discussion about Turkey’s military involvement in northwest Syria.

Video images showed dozens of legislators from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party and from the main opposition party pushing each other. In the video, some are seen throwing punches while others try to pull the brawling legislators apart.

Some lawmakers fell to the ground during the fray, Turkey’s Haberturk television reported.

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.

During a speech to members of his party, Erdogan himself had accused the opposition earlier of being “dishonorable, ignoble, low and treacherous” for questioning Turkey’s military involvement in Syria’s northwest Idlib province.

Tensions are running high following the deaths of more than 50 Turkish soldiers in Idlib in the past month, including 33 who were killed in an attack on Thursday.

Turkey sent thousands of troops to Syria to help prevent a Russia-backed Syrian government offensive to retake Idlib province and to support Syrian opposition fighters holed up there.

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