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Turkish Leaders Meet to Discuss Possible U-S Military Deployment - 2003-02-28


Turkish military and political leaders met today (Friday) to discuss a U-S request to use Turkish military bases as a staging area for about 60-thousand U-S troops that could, if ordered, invade neighboring Iraq.

A brief statement issued in Ankara after the meeting of the National Security Council did not reveal whether agreement has been reached on the U-S request. The council includes military chiefs, the president and the prime minister.

Officials were also set to discuss a multi-billion dollar U-S aid package meant to compensate Turkey for any losses incurred during a war.

Earlier, party chiefs said the saw no reason to rush a decision that includes Turkish constitutional questions on the foreign deployment, and the deployment of Turkish soldiers to another country.

Delays in taking the vote to parliament reportedly centered on financial details of the plan. But some analysts say Ankara also delayed the vote this week amid constitutional questions about the U-S request, and the potential for political conflict at home.

The United States wants to use Turkish military bases for launching a northern front in case of war with Iraq.

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