Turkey seeks extension of PKK attack mandate

Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The Turkish government told lawmakers Friday it wanted an extension to a mandate for cross-border operations to fight members of the PKK in northern Iraq.

Turkey submitted its first motion for cross-border attacks in 2007. The government sent lawmakers a request Friday to extend the measure for another year, Today's Zaman reports.

The current mandate expires Oct. 17. The Turkish newspaper said only members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy party voted against the measure when it was tabled last year.

The motion follows a reform package introduced this week by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meant to resolve lingering issues with the Kurdish minority.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Kurdish initials PKK, declared war against the government in the 1980s. It's fighting for more political and cultural rights for the Kurdish minority in Turkey.

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement Tuesday the reforms were a "positive step" for inclusive democracy in Turkey.

The PKK called for a truce this year but the initiative has sputtered. Turkish media report as many as 50,000 people have lost their lives since the conflict began more than 30 years ago.

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