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Registered: 09/25/00
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Turkey's Cabinet Approves Troops for Iraq
    #1983621 - 10/06/03 12:52 PM (13 years, 24 days ago)

Turkey's Cabinet Approves Troops for Iraq
2 hours, 53 minutes ago

By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press Writer

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's Cabinet agreed Monday to send troops to Iraq (news - web sites) to help stabilize the country ? a decision that could relieve U.S. operations in Iraq and help Turkey mend frayed relations with the United States.

But the decision must be approved by Parliament, where many oppose any deployment. Lawmakers are likely to vote this week.

If the deployment is approved, Turkey would become the first predominantly Muslim nation to contribute troops to Iraq.

There was no information on how many soldiers the government plans to send. However, government officials have said the United States requested some 10,000 troops.

Government spokesman Cemil Cicek said troops would be deployed for one year, adding: "We hope that they stay for less than one year."

The United States has been seeking soldiers from Turkey as well as India, Pakistan and South Korea (news - web sites) to bolster 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) says he has given up hope of getting Indian soldiers to help coalition forces secure Iraq, while Pakistan has said it will send its troops only under a U.N. mandate.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in favor of contributing troops to help improve ties with the United States that have been strained since March when the Turkish parliament narrowly turned down a U.S. request to station 60,000 U.S. troops in Turkey for the Iraq war. The latest move would also allow Turkey a say in the future of neighboring Iraq.

The Turkish public was overwhelmingly opposed to the war in Iraq, and with the number of U.S. casualties mounting, it is also strongly opposed to sending soldiers now. On Monday, anti-war demonstrators staged a protest outside the prime minister's office where the Cabinet met, splashing red paint on the street.

Erdogan has said that once approved by Cabinet, a motion seeking permission to dispatch soldiers would rapidly be brought to parliament. On Monday, Salih Kapusuz, a top official from Erdogan's party, said parliament could vote on the issue as early as Tuesday.

The Cabinet decision came after Turkey received assurances from the U.S. State Department's counterterrorism chief, Cofer Black, last week that the United States would remove the threat posed to Turkey by Turkish Kurdish rebels of the autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, based in northern Iraq.

U.S. officials did not rule out the use of military force. The United States has designated the PKK, which now goes by the name of KADEK, as a terrorist organization.

Turkey has sought a U.S. commitment to fight the militants, hoping this would help the government win domestic support for the deployment.

There was no information on when the troops would be dispatched. Private CNN-Turk television said the military had ordered troops to prepare for deployment. Reports have suggested that the troops could be stationed in the Sunni Arab areas, west and north of Baghdad.

Iraqi Kurdish groups and members of the Iraqi interim government have spoken out against the deployment of troops from Turkey and other neighboring nations. {I don't blame them, either}


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Registered: 11/27/02
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Re: Turkey's Cabinet Approves Troops for Iraq [Re: wingnutx]
    #1983906 - 10/06/03 02:58 PM (13 years, 24 days ago)

Hard to tell if they don't just want more money.......
They should stay out of that hole. :smirk:

"Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Lest we forget. "

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