Turkey's National Security Council has endorsed basing foreign troops in the country, a move that could open the way for U-S forces to use Turkish facilities in any war against Iraq.
The announcement, which also endorsed sending Turkish soldiers abroad, followed a lengthy meeting Friday in Ankara of the powerful council -- which is made up of top military and civilian leaders.
The Turkish parliament must still approve the measure. The United States has been seeking its NATO ally's permission to position troops on Turkish bases in case the United States goes to war with Iraq.
Turkey has also said it might deploy its troops into northern Iraq if a war breaks out, in order to maintain stability in the region.
Earlier today (Friday), U-S and coalition forces, taking-off from bases in Turkey, struck Iraqi targets in the northern "no-fly" zone. The U-S military says the airstrike was a self-defense measure, in response to Iraqi fire against coalition aircraft that routinely patrols the "no-fly" zone.
Coalition aircraft also dropped more than 300-thousand information leaflets over Al Kut in southern Iraq. The leaflets encourage Iraqis to listen to radio frequencies run by the coalition forces telling them about the U-N resolution demanding Iraqi disarmament, President Saddam Hussein's government and other topics. It was the 10th time this month coalition forces have made such a drop.
Earlier Friday, International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters that Iraq must give weapons experts greater access before he and chief U-N weapons inspector Hans Blix will consider Baghdad's invitation for them to travel to the Iraqi capital for more talks.