Turkey seeks extension to its military remit in northern Iraq

Türkiye Materials 22 September 2008 15:12 (UTC +04:00)

The Turkish government is to seek parliamentary approval for a year-long extension to a mandate that allows the Turkish military to launch operations in northern Iraq against rebels from the separatists Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

The cabinet formally presented a motion to parliament on Monday that would extend until October 2009 a broad remit for the army to launch military operations, CNN-Turk television reported. The current mandate ends on October 17, reported dpa.

In February the military launched large-scale operations inside northern Iraq which saw up to 10,000 soldiers sent across the border to seek out PKK rebels and their camps.

According to the Turkish military, 240 PKK fighters, 24 Turkish soldiers and three Turkish state-employed village guards were killed in the week-long operation.

Since that operation the Turkish Air Force have conducted a number of bombing raids on suspected PKK targets.

Ankara blames the separatist group for the deaths of more than 35,000 people since the early 1980s when the PKK began its fight for independence or autonomy for the mainly Kurdish-populated south-east of Turkey.