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Turkish Parliament Rejects U.S. Plan to Send 62,000 Combat Troops to Turkey for Iraq War
AP ^

Posted on 03/01/2003 6:06:48 PM PST by TheOtherOne

Turkish Parliament Rejects U.S. Plan to Send 62,000 Combat Troops to Turkey for Iraq War

Published: Mar 1, 2003

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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's parliament dealt a stunning blow to U.S. war planning Saturday by failing to approve a bill allowing in American combat troops to open a northern front against Iraq.

The decision, which likely will strain ties with Washington, marked a setback to U.S. efforts to show Saddam Hussein that he is surrounded and his neighbors support a U.S.-led coalition.

The parliament vote was 264-250 in favor, with 19 abstentions. But speaker Bulent Arinc said the outcome fell three votes short of the simple majority required by the constitution. He then closed parliament until Tuesday.

Prime Minister Abdullah Gul hastily met with top ministers and party leaders after the vote. Before going in, a visibly shaken and angry Gul said, "We will assess all this."

Gul did not speak after that meeting. Private NTV and CNN-Turk television stations quoted unnamed officials as saying the government was not planning to resubmit the motion to parliament.

Officials were not immediately available for comment. The leaders of Gul's Justice and Development Party are expected to meet Sunday to discuss what action to take.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Pearson rushed to the Foreign Ministry after the vote.

"We had certainly hoped for a favorable decision," he said. "We will wait for further information and advice from the government of Turkey about how we should proceed."

Turkish lawmakers had faced overwhelming public opposition to basing U.S. troops on Turkish soil. Yet Washington had been so sure of winning approval from close ally and NATO member Turkey, that ships carrying U.S. tanks are waiting off Turkey's coast for deployment and the U.S. military has thousands of tons of military equipment ready to unload at the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun.

For weeks, the Bush administration had been pressing Turkey to agree to a possible northern front, which would split Saddam Hussein's army between the north and the south, likely making a war shorter and less bloody.

The motion would have empowered Turkey's government to authorize the basing of up to 62,000 troops, 255 warplanes and 65 helicopters. In exchange, Washington promised $15 billion in loans and grants to cushion the Turkish economy from the impact of war.

Besides that funding, Turkey also risks losing Washington's support which was crucial in securing billions in loans that rescued the country during an economic crisis in 2001.

The United States has also pushed Turkey's eagerly sought candidacy in the European Union. And if Turkey does not agree to host U.S. forces, it loses a say in the future of neighboring Iraq if there is a war.

That is a critical issue for Turkey, which fears that a war could lead Kurds in northern Iraq to declare an independent state and in turn inspire Turkey's own Kurdish minority.

Nonetheless, Turkey's governing party had difficulty selling the unpopular measure to the Turkish people and could not push through the motion despite its overwhelming majority in parliament.

Polls show as much as 94 percent of the Muslim-dominated Turkish public opposes a war with Iraq. Before the vote, 50,000 Turks staged an anti-war rally near parliament as 4,000 police stood guard. They chanted "No to War" and "We don't want to be America's soldiers." Some carried banners that read: "The people will stop this war."

After the speaker nullified the vote, hundreds of Turks celebrated in the streets of central Ankara, shouting anti-U.S. slogans.

"We are all Iraqis ... We will not kill, we will not die," they chanted. They also accused the Islamic-rooted Justice party of "collaborating" with Washington.

The Justice party was planning to meet Sunday, said Reha Denemec, the party's deputy chairman. "We did not expect these results, but this is a democracy," he said.

AP-ES-03-01-03 2023EST



TOPICS: Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: allyturkey; iraq; turkey; warlist
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1 posted on 03/01/2003 6:06:48 PM PST by TheOtherOne
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To: TheOtherOne
I hear the Urks were irked.
2 posted on 03/01/2003 6:08:46 PM PST by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Diddle E. Squat
I know Bush is.
3 posted on 03/01/2003 6:09:25 PM PST by TheOtherOne
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To: TheOtherOne
I am, too.
4 posted on 03/01/2003 6:10:07 PM PST by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Diddle E. Squat
Stick a fork in the Turkey. Bring on Kurdistan. Let's Roll!!!
5 posted on 03/01/2003 6:10:59 PM PST by jrlc
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To: TheOtherOne
We should have just asked Iran or Syria. We could have at least received the same answer.
6 posted on 03/01/2003 6:11:56 PM PST by fiftymegaton
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To: TheOtherOne
Sounds like a country that puts its petty political squabbles ahead of its obvious national interests. Gosh, can you imagine such a thing? Whew.
7 posted on 03/01/2003 6:13:41 PM PST by hemogoblin (Dungeons are very peaceful places. As are graves.)
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To: TheOtherOne
But, but....Whoraldo told me he was SURE this was going to pass.

What are the implications of this? I know we have ships there just waiting to offload. Is there another country that will welcome us and will be just as good of a base site for aircraft etc?

I have to admit part of me is glad this happened, it will save us a ton of money in bailing out Turkey. I felt they were blackmailing us anyway. I'm very uneducated on the effect that this will all have though.

MKM

8 posted on 03/01/2003 6:16:57 PM PST by mykdsmom (Let him who desires peace, prepare for war.... Vegetius Renatus (~375 AD)
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To: mykdsmom
The Turkish economy is in the toilet.

Today, the Turkish parliament flushed.

Bye bye Turkish economy.
9 posted on 03/01/2003 6:19:35 PM PST by tomahawk
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To: tomahawk
We should absolutely block Turkey's deployment of troops in Iraq.
10 posted on 03/01/2003 6:21:18 PM PST by Tax Government
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To: TheOtherOne
U.S. Ambassador Robert Pearson rushed to the Foreign Ministry after the vote.

"We had certainly hoped for a favorable decision," he said. "We will wait for further information and advice from the government of Turkey about how we should proceed."

The President of the United States should sack this diplomatic turkey.

11 posted on 03/01/2003 6:22:07 PM PST by thinktwice
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To: tomahawk
yep

bye bye any foriegn aid
12 posted on 03/01/2003 6:22:31 PM PST by Stopislamnow
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To: TheOtherOne
So where does it say the Turkish troops are not going into Iraq?
13 posted on 03/01/2003 6:22:56 PM PST by latrans (Live Free or Die)
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To: TheOtherOne
Translation:

The Turkish military is pissed off and will replace the civilian government again if this doesn't change and quick...watch and see.
14 posted on 03/01/2003 6:23:23 PM PST by Beck_isright (going to war without the French is like duck hunting without an accordian)
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To: TheOtherOne
i am honestly very stunned at this development.
I know they have alot to worry about regarding their kurdish population, but i think the billions of dollars of aid was sufficient.

blah!
15 posted on 03/01/2003 6:25:35 PM PST by freedom44
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To: *war_list
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
16 posted on 03/01/2003 6:28:56 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: xzins; Alamo-Girl
...outcome fell three votes short of the simple majority required by the constitution. He then closed parliament until Tuesday.

Holding their cards very close,.....playing later!

:-(

............................BTTT.....ping!

17 posted on 03/01/2003 6:35:07 PM PST by maestro
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To: maestro
Holding their cards very close,.....playing later!

That's fine, unless the House closes the game!

18 posted on 03/01/2003 6:38:32 PM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: TheOtherOne
Gee, some of those billions would go a long way towards starting a nice little homeland for the Kurds...
19 posted on 03/01/2003 6:40:45 PM PST by alancarp (online anti-Hollywood idiots petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/hollywoodceleb/)
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To: TheOtherOne
Fine, they just saved the U.S. 15 Billion in bad loans.  We can set up in Armenia, Georgia or Azerbaijan just as easily.  And when the "democratic" government folds in a couple of years, we won't have to worry about losing an ally.
The fewer alliances we form with scumbag islamic governments, the better off we are.
 

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

20 posted on 03/01/2003 6:41:09 PM PST by South Hawthorne
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