Turkey's Gul agrees to 60,000 U.S. troops

Thursday, February 27, 2003

ANKARA Turkey's government has formally agreed to the deployment of more than 60,000 U.S. troops.

Turkish officials said the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul completed negotiations with Washington for the arrival and deployment of U.S. troops and equipment for a war against Iraq. They said the agreement would be relayed to parliament later on Thursday for a vote.

Under the agreement, officials said, the United States would be allowed to deploy more than 60,000 troops in Turkey for an unspecified period. The troops would be accompanied by tanks, armored personnel carriers and fighter-jets based in up to six military bases in Turkey.

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In return, officials said, Turkey would receive a compensation package worth about $20 billion. The package would include both grants and loan guarantees.

For more than a week, several U.S. warships have been anchored off the coast of Turkey. The vessels are transporting tanks and armored personnel carriers for the U.S. 4th Infantry Division, planned for deployment along the Iraqi-Turkish border.

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