Ankara considers cross-border PKK raids

Oct. 1, 2009 at 3:49 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Turkish lawmakers returned from summer recess Thursday to consider a request to launch a cross-border military offensive against Kurdish rebels in Iraq.

Authorization for the Turkish military to conduct cross-border raids into Iraqi territory to target militants with the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, expires Oct.17. Lawmakers must approve a new authorization if strikes continue beyond that date, reports Turkish daily Today's Zaman.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied allegations the government would ignore the request as Ankara considers a series of non-military options to deal with Kurdish ambitions.

Erdogan said he ordered Cabinet officials to draft the request to Parliament following his recent visit to New York in September.

Turkish fighter jets began pounding PKK hideouts in northern Iraq in October 2007. Ground operations followed in 2008.

The PKK is labeled as a terrorist organization by several nations, including the United States and Turkey. The U.S. military in Iraq had shared intelligence information on PKK activity in Iraq with their Turkish counterparts.

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