ANKARA Ñ Turkey continues to delay a decision on sending troops to
Turkish officials said the United States has refused to relay details of
the conditions of such a troop deployment. They said this has prevented a
Turkish government effort to seek parliamentary approval for the decision.
The government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has delayed a
parliamentary vote on Turkish deployment in Iraq until October, officials
said. They said Erdogan and military chiefs have concluded that Ankara has
failed to obtain sufficient information on the terms of the U.S. deployment
request to persuade parliament to support the proposal.
Officials said the United States has refused to relay the terms Turkish
deployment until parliamentary approval of Ankara's request, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the
U.S. Defense Department would enter negotiations with Ankara after the
proposal passes parliament.
Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said a U.S. military delegation
will arrive in Ankara over the next week to discuss Turkish troop deployment
in Iraq. Ozkok said the visit would be a folo-up to that of Gen. James
Jones, supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe and scheduled to arrive on
"The issue isn't only military, but also political and economic," Ozkok,
referring to the Jones visit, said.
Another factor blocking a vote in parliament has been
clarifications of Ankara's request for U.S. policy in northern Iraq. This
includes the U.S. vision of the future of northern Iraq, particularly in
wake of fighting between Kurds and ethnic Turks around Kirkuk.
At the same time, officials said, Turkey has been laying the groundwork
for deployment in Iraq. Turkish officials have been meeting tribal leaders
in Iraq and winning
support from some of them for the deployment of up to 10,000 Turkish troops
In late August, a delegation from the Al Obeid tribe, regarded as one of
the largest in Iraq, held talks in Ankara. The delegation discussed
Iraq's future with the Iraqi Turkmen Front, which has an office in Ankara.
For their part, U.S. commanders in northern Iraq have asserted that
military coordination between Ankara and the U.S. military has improved.
They said coordination increased over the last 10 days in wake of the
fighting in Kirkuk.
"We have good coordination with the Turkish Special Forces and are
cooperating on ways to prevent any repeat of these incidents," Col. William
Mayville, commander of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division in Kirkuk,
said in a meeting with Turkish reporters in Kirkuk last week.