Turkey Extends Mandate of US-Led Force Patrolling Northern Iraq
Turkish Parliament on Wednesday renewed permission for US and British planes to use a Turkish air base to patrol the no-fly zone over northern Iraq, reported The Associated Press.
The allied planes fly from Incirlik air base, southern Turkey, on a claim that they protect Kurds from possible Iraqi attacks.
Parliament has extended the mandate every six months since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when the zone was established, said the AP.
"In a region where tension and uncertainty remain, the continuation of the operation carries great importance for our foreign policy," said State Minister Ramazan Mirzaoglu.
According to the agency, deputies voted for the extension with a quick show of hands.
The United States has been enforcing the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. The zones are not internationally recognized.
Iraq considers the zones violations of its territorial sovereignty and has been regularly challenging the patrols since December 1998. Iraq has criticized Turkey for allowing its base to be used - Albawaba.com
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