Turkey to Extend Mandate for Ground Incursion Into Northern Iraq
Turkey’s Cabinet sought approval from parliament to extend a mandate for ground troops to be sent into Iraq to fight Kurdish militants, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said.
Parliament will reconvene from its summer holiday on Oct. 1 and is expected to give priority to a one-year extension of the mandate for cross-border attacks, which expires on Oct. 17, Arinc told reporters in Ankara late yesterday.
Militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, who are based in northern Iraq and fight for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast, have stepped up their attacks in recent months.
Turkey has sent troops into Iraq on several occasions since the Kurdish conflict began almost three decades ago, most recently in 2008. The incursions failed to prevent the militants returning to border areas after the withdrawal of the Turkish soldiers. Air attacks on PKK targets in northern Iraq are carried out more frequently, including in the past month.
Turkish troops are engaged in a major offensive to clear pockets of militants in the mountainous southeast before winter sets in, Hurriyet newspaper said yesterday.
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