ANKARA Ñ The United States has concluded an agreement for military
deployment in Turkey during any war against Iraq.
Turkish government sources said Washington will be allowed to deploy up
to 20,000 troops in Turkey. The sources said the troop deployment would be
short-term and presented as a right of passage from Turkey into Iraq.
The agreement marks a compromise between a U.S. request for the
stationing of nearly
90,000 troops in Turkey and Ankara's offer to host 15,000 troops. The
sources said Turkey would consider additional U.S. troops in the future.
Ankara's consent to the arrival of U.S. troops came as the Turkish
military command ordered an alert of its forces along the Iraqi border, Middle East Newsline reported. A
military statement issued on Wednesday said the order was meant for Turkey's
Second Army and would include the deployment of additional armored vehicles
Under the agreement, the sources said, U.S. troops would not be
stationed in the country. Instead, the U.S. troops would arrive in southern
Turkey and make their way into Iraq through the Khabour border gate.
The agreement also allows U.S. naval vessels to be anchored in Turkish
waters in the eastern Mediterranean. The vessels are expected to arrive
within a few days and will contain heavy weapons, radar and communications
The sources said the agreement, confirmed by a U.S. official, requires
further government scrutiny and parliamentary approval. The
Islamic-dominated parliament has opposed a U.S.
military presence in Turkey.
On Wednesday, the Turkish television NTV channel reported that the
United States has prepared a contingency plan to airlift troops to northern
Iraq to deal with the prospect of Turkish refusal to deploy additional U.S.
soldiers. Three air fields have been prepared for use in northern Iraq.
The United States will also establish several logistics and supply
centers for the arrival of U.S. troops. The centers will be set up in
Khabour, Nseibin and other points near the Iraqi
In addition, Turkey plans to establish 18 camps to along the Iraqi
border to contain the expected flow of refugees from northern Iraq. Turkey
has also asked the United States for PAC-2 missile defense batteries to
defend strategic facilities from an Iraqi missile attack.