Turkey extends bill allowing raids in Iraq

Parliament votes to allow military to continue operations in northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels for another year.

    Turkey extends bill allowing raids in Iraq
    Turkey has frequently struck targets in northern Iraq of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) [EPA]

    Turkey's parliament extended a bill that allows the military to stage operations against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, brushing aside warnings from Iraq against cross-border raids on its territory.

    With a show of hands on Thursday, legislators voted in favor of the measure extending the mandate for another year. It now expires on October 17, 2013.

    Turkey has frequently struck targets in northern Iraq of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which seeks autonomy for Turkey's Kurdish minority.

    The group uses bases in northern Iraq for hit-and-run attacks on Turkey.

    Relations between Turkey and Iraq have soured recently and Baghdad has said it will not tolerate military operations on its territory.

    Ties have been strained by a Turkish decision to shelter Iraq's former Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi, who was convicted on charges of running death squads.

    Turkey also started importing crude oil from northern Iraq under a deal with the Iraqi Kurdish administration, in another move that has angered Iraq.

    Iraqi reaction

    Ali al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, called the vote in the Turkish parliament "interference in the affairs of neighboring countries."

    "The Turkish parliament should discuss and vote on domestic issues that concern Turkish people instead of meddling in the affairs of a sovereign country like Iraq," al-Moussawi said while speaking on a visit to the Czech Republic.

    But Turkey argues that armed forces must intervene because neither the government in Baghdad nor Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region in the north are able to prevent the PKK from attacking Turkish targets.

    "If only they could have prevented it," Ismet Yilmaz, Turkey's defense minister, said. "It is our responsibility to protect the country from these terrorists."

    Turkish jets last hit suspected PKK targets in northern Iraq in two separate cross-border raids on Sunday, Turkish media said.

    The Kurdish rebels confirmed the attacks, but said the targets were long-abandoned camps and that there were no casualties.

    The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    John Pilger Q&A: 'US missiles are pointed at China'

    John Pilger Q&A: 'US missiles are pointed at China'

    Journalist John Pilger thinks the US and China might be on the path to war. "My film is a warning," he says.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    Sadly but frankly, Donald Trump is not going anywhere

    Sadly but frankly, Donald Trump is not going anywhere

    Trump isn't going to be impeached by this or perhaps any future Congress as currently constituted.