Turkish legislators renewed a mandate Thursday allowing the military to continue operations in Iraq and Syria.
The mandate authorizes the use of force in the two neighboring countries for an additional 12 months, along with giving the government the ability to continue allowing foreign troops to operate within Turkey.
The Turkish military has been bombarding strategic locations of the Kurdish Workers Party, known as the PKK, in the south of Turkey, as well as in northern Iraq, since late July, after it announced a new “anti-terror” initiative. The military measure was originally started under the guise of fighting Islamic State group militants in Iraq and Syria, with the help of the United States military, but they quickly started targeting PKK positions.
The two sides have been engaged in a three-decade-long war that has claimed the lives of over 40,000 people, namely the country's Kurdish minority. The war began as a Kurdish movement for independence, but has since morphed into a fight for cultural and political rights within the country.
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The PKK and Turkish officials had been engaged in a ceasefire since 2013 as part of a larger peace process, but this was officially called off in July, when the Kurdish resistance group accused the government of using the time of relative calm to recalibrate its military.