Turkey says it has opened its airspace to U-S warplanes.
Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul made the announcement late Friday, after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and army chief General Hilmi Ozkok. He said it had been determined that it was in Turkey's national interests to open the flight corridors.
Mr. Gonul said Prime Minister Erdogan telephoned U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington to inform him of the Turkish decision.
Turkish media reports say the airspace will be opened immediately. The Associated Press reports two air corridors will be open -- one for heavy bombers along the Black Sea Coast, and another for U-S and British fighter planes along the southern border.
Turkey agreed to open its airspace after nearly 24 hours of negotiations between Turkish and US officials working to resolve Ankara's demand that its troops be allowed to enter northern Iraq.
But there was no immediate word on what the two sides agreed. Turkey had said it needed a military presence in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq to prevent a possible influx of refugees into southeastern Turkey. But the United States fears there would be conflict between Turkish troops and Iraqi Kurd forces, and a disruption in the U-S campaign against Saddam Hussein.
U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell said earlier Friday that Washington sees no need for Turkish troops in northern Iraq.