Turkish gov’t seeks mandate extension to target PKK in Iraq
The motion was first brought up to Parliament in 2007 and has since been extended four times, in 2008, 2009, 2010 and last year. The current resolution providing the legal basis for operations expires on Oct. 17, and with the motion sent to Parliament the government is seeking permission for cross-border operations for one more year.
Deputy prime minister and government spokesperson Bülent Arınç told reporters following a Cabinet meeting on Monday that ministers signed the motion during the cabinet meeting and that the issue will be Parliament's first agenda item once it reconvenes after recess on Oct. 1.
The motion, which seeks parliamentary authorization for a cross-border operation into northern Iraq any time in the next year, is to be voted on in Parliament when it reconvenes on Oct. 1, where an overwhelming majority of deputies are expected to vote in favor. The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is the only party that is expected to vote against the motion.
The PKK has used northern Iraq as a springboard for attacks on Turkish targets in its decades-long fight for autonomy in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since the PKK took up arms in 1984.
Turkey has stepped up air operations on suspected PKK terrorists in northern Iraq over the past year after an increase in PKK attacks, and the raids have fuelled tension between Ankara and Baghdad.
More than 40,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
In the 15 months to August, some 800 people were killed, including about 500 PKK terrorists, more than 200 security personnel and about 85 civilians, according to estimates by the International Crisis Group think-tank.