Parliament debates terrorism, renews cross-border mandate
In a closed session on terrorism yesterday, Interior Minister Besir Atalay briefed Parliament on the government's anti-terror measures and recent developments in this area. Parliament was also set to renew for one year the government's mandate to engage in military operations against the terrorist PKK in northern Iraq. The motion, set to expire on Sunday, was first passed in 2007 and has been extended twice, in 2008 and 2009. Bekir Bozdag, the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) parliamentary group deputy chairman, said he was hopeful that Parliament would reach a consensus on how to tackle the terrorism problem. "If the opposition is sincere, it could contribute to the process by actively engaging in the debate," he said. "I also hope the government will take into account the concerns raised by other parties." An overwhelming majority of deputies, except those of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), favor the extension. Bozdag said extending the mandate would send a clear message that Turkey will consider military operations against PKK bases in northern Iraq if necessary.