ANKARA Ñ Turkey and the United States have have agreed on rules of engatement in northern Iraq but have failed to agree on Washington's
request to deploy 62,000 American troops in Turkey.
Ankara, despite a personal appeal by President George Bush, has also not agreed to a U.S. request
for use of Turkey's air space. U.S. officials said that in response
Washington has ordered that 10 naval ships leave the Turkish region and head
for the Persian Gulf.
Turkish government sources said Ankara and Washington have agreed on the
zones of operation by Turkish military forces as well as their mission.
Under the agreement, Turkey has pledged to keep its troops within 20
kilometers of the Iraqi border. Turkey now has more than 20,000 troops who
operate within a 40 kilometer zone inside Iraq.
But The U.S.-Turkish accord includes a commitment by Ankara not to attack
Kurdish or any other civilian targets in the area. The accord also calls on
Turkey to provide help to refugees.
The sources said the United States has agreed that Turkey can use force
for self-defense to protect the Turkmen community and prevent the
occupation of oil regions in northern Iraq. Turkey is also allowed to use
force to prevent the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.
The agreement was reached, the sources said, as part of an effort to
prevent a confrontation between U.S. and Turkish troops in northern Iraq.
The Turkish military has been concerned that Kurdish insurgents or
separatists could attack Turkish troops from behind a U.S. military umbrella.
"Turkey is fearful of possible conflicts with Kurdish groups or even
U.S. troops in the region," Turkish columnist Zeynep Gurcanli wrote in the
Star daily. "That's why the Turkish Army will definitely act very
Turkey plans to deploy up to 80,000 troops in northern Iraq. The sources
said 50,000 troops have amassed along the Iraqi-Turkish border, with about
20,000 already in positions in northern Iraq.
The sources said the agreement constitutes an understanding with much
room for interpretation. They said Turkey and the United States have failed
to agree on the composition of a Kurdish entity in northern Iraq. Turkey
wants a U.S. guarantee that Washington will not allow the establishment
of anything other than an Iraqi federation. Washington has refused to
relay such a pledge.
Another snag is the U.S. refusal to guarantee Turkish participation in
an international civilian administration that will rule Iraq
after the elimination of the regime of President Saddam Hussein. The sources
said Washington does not want to expand Turkish influence beyond that of
For their part, Kurdish leaders have expressed opposition to Turkish
troops in northern Iraq unless they are under U.S. command. The leaders have
warned that Turkey's entry into northern Iraq will result in Iranian and
Syrian intervention. Kurdish sources said their forces have been deployed
along the Turkish border to fight any invading Turkish troops.