Turkey extends its raid mandate into Iraq…

“If there is a solution to the issue without using arms, come let’s discuss it together…” – Sirri Sakik, deputy leader in the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party.

Extending a mandate to pursue Kurdish militants across the Turkish border into Iraq undermines efforts at peace, a pro-Kurdish lawmaker said.

The current mandate for cross-border military operations targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, expires Sunday. A motion to extend the mandate was backed by 428 members with 18 others voting against the measure, Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reports.

Sirri Sakik, a deputy leader in the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, criticized the vote, saying it sidelined any hopes of finding a peaceful resolution to the so-called Kurdish question.

“If there is a solution to the issue without using arms, come let’s discuss it together,” he was quoted as saying.

Turkish authorities estimate there are around 4,000 militants with the PKK operating from the mountainous border region along the Turkish border with Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Ankara last year tried to find a diplomatic solution to the PKK issue, though that effort was upended when a court decided to disband a pro-Kurdish political party.

The cross-border mandate was raised in 2007 and extended in 2008 and 2009. The vote was conducted during a closed-door session.

 

UPI

October 14, 2010

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