ISTANBUL Ñ Turkey has deployed its navy and coast guard to secure
the NATO summit.
The summit, which formally began on Monday, was launched amid threats by
Al Qaida-aligned groups to attack Western leaders. Last week, bombs were
detonated in Ankara and Istanbul in what was described as attacks by Ansar
Al Islam, Middle East Newsline reported.
Officials said Turkey has deployed dozens of naval and coast guard
vessels in an effort to keep all suspicious boats out of the Bosphorus. They
said the naval vessels, backed by F-16 multi-role fighters, have patrolled
the Bosphorus between the European and Asian sides of the city.
On Saturday, officials said, Turkey closed both the Bosphorus
and the Dardanelles to ships carrying explosives, weapons and oil. The
closure was meant to last until late Tuesday after the 49 world leaders,
including U.S. President George Bush, leave Turkey.
Officials said the Bosphorus Strait has also been under constant
surveillance. They said cameras and infrared sensors were deployed along the
waterway to provide 24 hour a day coverage until June 30. Turkey has been
helped by the United States in the surveillance effort, the officials said.
NATO has also helped Turkey by deploying three airborne early-warning
AWACS aircraft to protect the summit. NATO was also expected to announce
training and support for Iraq's new military and security forces. Iraq has
asked NATO for equipment, training and technical assistance.
At the same time, Turkey authorities have stepped up arrests of
suspected insurgents. Over the weekend, Turkish police detained 10 people
suspected of being linked to Al Qaida in the central province of Konya.
Turkish security sources said authorities captured guns, ammunition, a
hand grenade and manuals on making bombs. They said the detainees were
trained in Afghanistan and Bosnia.