October 10, 2013 - 21:53 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Turkish parliament on Thursday, Oct 10 approved a government motion to renew a mandate to send troops to northern Iraq for another year if the government deems it necessary, Today’s Zaman reported.
The government submitted the motion to Parliament on Oct 4 for the extension of the mandate, which allows the Turkish military to conduct new cross-border operations in northern Iraq to eradicate terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) hideouts in that country. Last year's resolution providing the legal basis for such operations expires on Oct 17.
While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) voted in favor of the motion, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) voted against it.
The Iraq motion was first brought to Parliament in 2007 and the mandate has since then been extended every year, a total of six times. The AK Party, CHP and MHP voted in favor of the bill last year as well, and the BDP was again the only party that voted against the motion signed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The current text of the motion was approved by Parliament and wasn't changed.
The motion states that “the peace, security, national unity and territorial integrity of Turkey are under threat of attack by PKK terrorists.” The motion also says that Turkey “attaches importance to the protection of the territorial integrity, national unity and the stability of Iraq.”
PKK is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, the European Union and NATO. Although insurgents have carried out attacks in many regions of Turkey, the insurgency is mainly in southeastern Turkey. The PKK's military presence in Iraq's Kurdistan Region, which it uses as launchpad for attacks on Turkey, has resulted in the Turkish military carrying out frequent ground incursions and air and artillery strikes in the region, as the Kurdistan Regional Government claimed they do not have sufficient military forces to prevent the PKK from operating. The conflict has particularly affected Turkey's tourism industry and has cost Turkey an estimated $300-450 billion, claiming lives of about 40,000 people.