Story Highlights• Top military commander wants clear guidelines if forces enter Iraq
• Turkish military has intensified operations against the Kurdish PKK
• PKK guerrillas have been fighting for autonomy in Turkey for over two decades
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(CNN) -- Turkey's top military commander urged his government's political leaders to make the guidelines clear if his forces are ordered across the Iraqi border to battle rebels with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a prospect he suggested would be helpful.
Since the early 1980s, the Turkish government has been fighting the Kurdish separatist group, which wants an independent nation for its people. The battle has taken more than 30,000 lives. The European Union and the United States consider the PKK a terrorist group.
"The government must define its political guidelines," Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said at a news conference at the Egirdir Military Base in Egirdir, Turkey Wednesday.
Gen. Buyukanit said before crossing the border into northern Iraq, the government must think through what it would want its military to do if it was challenged by forces other than the PKK rebels.
He said the government -- not the military -- must address the problem of "disarming international support" for the PKK.
"This is not a job that soldiers can do," Buyukanit said.
CNN's Talia Kayali contributed to this report.