ANKARA Ñ Turkey continues to delay a decision on whether Washington
could deploy up to 40,000 troops in the NATO ally.
The government of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul ignored a Friday deadline
by the United States for Ankara to decide on the military deployment.
Instead, senior officials said the government is awaiting a U.S reply for
Turkey's request for $10 billion in grants and parliament could decide the
issue on Tuesday.
Gul said he hoped that the Turkish-U.S. negotiations would be resolved
within the next few days. The prime minister linked Ankara's approval for
U.S. military deployment to Washington's agreement for Turkey's aid request, Middle East Newsline reported.
"They understand our worries, we understand theirs," Gul said. "A result
will be reached in the next few days. The negotiations are being conducted
in an atmosphere of friendship,
confidence and mutual unterstanding."
Turkey's Economy Minister Ali Babacan said Washington has not satisfied
Turkey's concerns in other areas apart from economic aid. The minister would
Ankara and Washington are said to have reached an initial agreement on
the troop level in northern Iraq. Under the agreement, Turkey and the United
States would coordinate military activities in northern Iraq under separate
Turkish sources reported over the weekend that thousands of Turkish
troops, backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, entered northern
Iraq. The sources said the Turkish force was sent to head off the advance of
some 5,000 Iranian-backed Kurdish forces that had entered northern Iraq from
Iran over the last week.
Turkey is also set to receive early-warning aircraft later this week
from NATO. Turkish sources said the planes will be based in the Anatolian
air base at Konya.