Turkey says its parliament must OK deployment of U.S. troops

Monday, January 13, 2003

ANKARA The United States and the new Islamic-oriented government of Turkey are continuing intense negotiations over the planned deployment of U.S. over the next few weeks. A U.S. military inspection team have finally been allowed to begin a tour of bases today.

Officials said the Turkish government concluded that the arrival of the U.S. delegation did not require parliamentary approval, Middle East Newsline reported. They said parliament would be required to endorse the deployment of the U.S. troops.

The United States is said to have agreed to limited Turkish authority over up to 90,000 American troops planned for deployment in Turkey over the next few weeks.

Turkish officials said Washington rejected a demand by the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul that the soldiers come solely under Turkish authority. But the officials said the U.S. Defense Department approved a compromise that the soldiers would be subject to both U.S. and Turkish law.

The disagreement between Ankara and Washington had held up the U.S. military deployment. The Defense Department had been waiting for weeks to send a 150-member delegation to inspect Turkish military bases for troops and aircraft.

Officials said a draft of a memorandum of understanding that allows for the U.S. military delegation visit calls for Turkish jurisdication over any criminal offenses committed by the Americans. U.S. law, however, will apply when it clashes with Turkish law, they said.

Another clause in the MoU commits the United States to be responsible for any damage caused during the inspection of Turkish military bases.

On Friday, the Turkish General Staff said the U.S. team would be allowed to conduct the survey. The statement said the U.S. delegation would conduct site surveys in some bases beginning on Monday.

"We have given permission to the United States to perform a site survey in ports and bases," Gul said. "Decision of the parliament is not required for the permission."

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