Turkey says NO to US troop deployments


March 1, 2003, 06:52 PM

Turkish parliament rejects U.S. plan to send 62,000 combat troops to Turkey for Iraq war

LOUIS MEIXLER, Associated Press Writer

Saturday, March 1, 2003

(03-01) 15:42 PST ANKARA, Turkey (AP) --

Turkey's parliament dealt a stunning blow to U.S. war planning Saturday by failing to approve a bill allowing in American combat troops to open a northern front against Iraq.

The decision, which likely will strain ties with Washington, marked a setback to U.S. efforts to show Saddam Hussein that he is surrounded and his neighbors support a U.S.-led coalition.

Prime Minister Abdullah Gul hastily met with top ministers and party leaders after the vote.

"We will assess all this," a visibly shaken and angry Gul said before the meeting.

Gul did not speak after it. Private NTV and CNN-Turk television stations quoted unnamed officials as saying the government was not planning to resubmit the motion to parliament.

Officials were not immediately available for comment. The leaders of Gul's Justice and Development Party are expected to meet Sunday to discuss what action to take.

The parliament vote was 264-250 in favor, with 19 abstentions. But speaker Bulent Arinc said the decision was four short of the simple majority required by the constitution. He then closed parliament until Tuesday.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Pearson rushed to the Foreign Ministry after the vote.

"We had certainly hoped for a favorable decision," he said. "We will wait for further information and advice from the government of Turkey about how we should proceed."

Turkish lawmakers had faced overwhelming public opposition to basing U.S. troops on Turkish soil. Yet Washington had been so sure of winning approval from close ally and NATO member Turkey, that ships carrying U.S. tanks are waiting off Turkey's coast for deployment and the U.S. military has thousands of tons of military equipment ready to unload at the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun.

For weeks, the Bush administration had been pressing Turkey to agree to a possible northern front, which would split Saddam Hussein's army between the north and the south, likely making a war shorter and less bloody.

The motion would have empowered Turkey's government to authorize the basing of up to 62,000 troops, 255 warplanes and 65 helicopters. In exchange, Washington promised $15 billion in loans and grants to cushion the Turkish economy from the impact of war.

Besides that funding, Turkey also risks losing Washington's support which was crucial in securing billions in loans that rescued the country during an economic crisis in 2001.

The United States has also pushed Turkey's eagerly sought candidacy in the European Union. And if Turkey does not agree to host U.S. forces, it loses a say in the future of neighboring Iraq if there is a war.

That is a critical issue for Turkey, which fears that a war could lead Kurds in northern Iraq to declare an independent state and in turn inspire Turkey's own Kurdish minority.

Nonetheless, Turkey's governing party had difficulty selling the unpopular measure to the Turkish people and could not push through the motion despite its overwhelming majority in parliament.

Polls show as much as 94 percent of the Muslim-dominated Turkish public opposes a war with Iraq. Before the vote, 50,000 Turks staged an anti-war rally near parliament as 4,000 police stood guard. They chanted "No to War" and "We don't want to be America's soldiers." Some carried banners that read: "The people will stop this war."

After the speaker nullified the vote, hundreds of Turks celebrated in the streets of central Ankara, shouting anti-U.S. slogans.

"We are all Iraqis ... We will not kill, we will not die," they chanted. They also accused the Islamic-rooted Justice party of "collaborating" with Washington.

The Justice party was planning to meet Sunday, said Reha Denemec, the party's deputy chairman. "We did not expect these results, but this is a democracy," he said.

If you enjoyed reading about "Turkey says NO to US troop deployments" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Sean Smith
March 1, 2003, 07:04 PM
No problem, Turkey's treasury will just find itself several billion dollars of aid money lighter as a result. We'll probably sabotage any IMF loans they were hoping to get, too. Heck, the 18 actively pro-US members of the EU might give Turkey the shaft when it comes time to join the next EU expansion.

March 1, 2003, 07:19 PM
It will work for the best. Now we have very good reasons to increase the size of our military so that in the future we can thumb our nose at them.:barf:

March 1, 2003, 07:41 PM
Start by withdrawing ALL support for the UN ($$$ and manpower) and show them the door. We can put the real estate in NYC to better use.

Suspend all foreign aid until a complete review is done. Only provide aid when in the best interests of the U.S. or in genuine humanitarian situations. Make sure ALL funds get to those that are in need. The local war-lord or politicians start diverting resources, it's shut off immediately.

Withdraw all military personnel from all foreign nations.

Reformulate doctrine to operate as a home-based force using air and sea assets where power projection is needed. Ground forces should only deployed in the "target country" as needed.

March 1, 2003, 07:45 PM
I think we are in the same condition ancient Rome was and we should act accordingly. Why pay lip service to weak countries and pretend? Do what is right, take responsibility for it, answer only to the American people and our close friends (allies).

March 1, 2003, 07:48 PM
So far, but we'll see how the hand plays out.

March 1, 2003, 07:57 PM
Give them a little time, they'll come around.;)

March 1, 2003, 07:58 PM
To hell with World opinion, It has caused the Bush administration to delay for over a month now. We have had troops training in Kuwait for over 6 months now and I am sure they either want to go to Bagdad or home. Determination is what is called for, second doubts have no place here, either s..t or get off the pot.:banghead:

March 1, 2003, 08:43 PM

Turkey's own worst enemy.

reading this stuff makes me :fire: as these people don't want us there, let Saddem invade them! And then we just tell them, weren't you guys the ones that didn't want our help??

March 1, 2003, 09:21 PM
I agree with Telewinz, stop playing around worrying about what others think and do something constructive for the US for a change.
Either go kick Saddam's butt or else just leave him alone, pull all US troops AND $$$ from every country except Britain and let the rest of the world get their just rewards for being stupid!!!!:cuss:

March 1, 2003, 10:02 PM
Lets get it on. We are getting the shaft from the friggin UN and a lot of the rest of the world.

The UN is nothing but hot air and some of the other nations are just blackmailing us.

After Irag is "fixed", I suggest that the US give the damn UN & the member nations 72 hours to leave the borders of the United States or face arrest and trial as SPIES!

Then after another 72 hours, let's tear down the UN headquarters building. Just like we did to the NAZI headquarters in that arm pit country called Germany, over 50 years ago.

The UN can set up in that rectum of a country called France.

I don't know about the rest of you but I grow weary and I fear for America.

March 1, 2003, 10:30 PM
Hopefully the technology will be here soon that we will not need other countries for our military. If you look at it from the military and not political viewpoint the only reason we are nice to many countries is to get permission to use their soil for a base or permission to fly over. Within a few decades we should have perfected the technology to drop in troops from space directly. Then to hell with all these phony friends who only take our money in order to fund efforts to back stab the US!

Maybe it is time to start pushing for anti UN legslation like that one county did out west (forgot where!) On the county level it might be easy to push through for a start :)


March 1, 2003, 11:22 PM
It doesn't seem like we really need Turkey in on this, although it might have made things a little easier it does not seem like it was crucial. And the Kurds are ecstatic that Turkey won't be key to the U.S. going into Iraq from the north.


Airstrips readied for U.S. in N. Iraq

Kurdish militias help prepare foothold for invasion force

By Karl Vick

HARIR, Iraq, March 1 — Shimmering in the mountain light, the airstrip dominates a majestic valley just below this neatly ordered Kurdish town deep in northern Iraq. The 1.5-mile runway, built in the 1980s by the Iraqi military, has lain derelict for a dozen years. But in the hands of the Kurdish militias that govern northern Iraq, its edges show signs of recent grooming.

BRIGHT WHITE TENTS flank either end of the macadam. At the freshly installed sentry post, new red paint shines on a wooden drop-barrier. Standing behind it, a Kurdish militia officer politely waves away a visitor, saying “there is no one here.”
The recent renovation of two such airstrips in the Kurdish-run zone is the most public evidence of a discreet but active U.S. military presence here. In months of work inside Iraq’s Kurdish region, according to officials here and in Washington, U.S. teams have prepared the way for an American-led invasion force expected to number in the tens of thousands. If Turkey’s parliament votes to allow the 4th Infantry Division and other U.S. forces to enter Iraq from Turkey, the teams will help ensure they find an easy foothold in the country’s mountainous north.

Residents say the runway at Harir, about 30 miles northwest of Irbil, does not seem to be in use yet. The only air traffic heard in town, they say, is the distant roar of high-altitude U.S. or British warplanes enforcing the northern “no-fly” zone, and the occasional buzz of a helicopter.
An officer with the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which administers the region around Harir, said the helicopters belonged to Turkey. The neighboring state has stationed several thousand troops inside northern Iraq for years, to hunt Kurdish separatists who fought a guerrilla war inside Turkey until 1999. At another disused Iraqi military airfield at Barmani, about 15 miles south of the Turkish border and 30 miles east of Zakhu, the runway is lined by Turkish tanks.
Another lengthy and long-neglected airstrip has been undergoing renovations in Bakrajo, a town on the outskirts of Sulaymaniyah, 100 miles southeast of here. In mid-January, municipal firetrucks sprayed off the mud and stones that had collected on the asphalt strip since Iraqi forces abandoned it after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. At the same time, Kurdish militiamen dug bunkers and fighting positions along the roughly two-mile length of the runway.

A steady stream of dump trucks carted in gravel last week to restore a muddy access road running from the main highway. A lone sentry at the main road appeared to be an ordinary member of the pesh merga, or “those who seek death,” as the Kurdish militiamen are known. But a pair of guards who crossed a mucky field to intercept approaching reporters identified themselves as Kurdish special forces, a corps that normally guards senior officials of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which administers the zone around Sulaymaniyah.

Rick Francona, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who once served as military intelligence liaison to the Iraqi military, said the Bakrajo and Harir airstrips would be “excellent places to set up pre-positioned gas stocks for your helicopter operations.” The road beside the Bakrajo field leads to Kirkuk, 75 miles to the west, and to the oil fields that invading U.S. forces would attempt to secure in the first phases of any attack, according to U.S. officials and analysts.
That would suit Bahroz Karim Abdul, a farmhand who has watched the renovations at Bakrajo unfold for weeks from the flat concrete roof of the barn he tends beside the airfield. Iraqi forces killed one of his daughters during a Kurdish uprising in 1991 that was suppressed by Iraqi helicopter gunships. Before the airfield was taken by pesh merga, he said, some Iraqi helicopters flew from Bakrajo.
Built as secondary military airfields to use for emergency landings and in case other fields came under attack, Bakrajo and Harir are long enough to accommodate most aircraft. But Francona was unsure their decks were thick enough to withstand repeated landings by fully laden U.S. C-5 and C-17 military transports.
The absence of control towers is not a major problem; military flights can be guided “from a jeep,” said Thomas G. McInerney, a retired Air Force lieutenant general. But the fields are bracketed by nothing but mountains and sheep: No fuel depots, aprons or other aviation infrastructure are visible.

As a result, they would not be a substitute for full-fledged Turkish air bases, analysts said. Airborne and special operations forces could get along with such spartan conditions, the former officers noted, but large masses of infantry would not come into northern Iraq easily by air.
“You have to bring in big airplanes that are vulnerable to Iraqi fighter aircraft,” McInerney said. “We would have a fighter cap flying that would take care of them, but it’s a big job.” And preparations to receive planeload after planeload of infantry “would take weeks,” he added.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

March 1, 2003, 11:27 PM
OK, Turkey's off my "nations to buy stuff from" list...:cuss:

Of course, that also means that when the Kurds decide to take some Turkish land when they declare their independence, we won't have a dog in that hunt...:evil:

March 1, 2003, 11:46 PM
Other than coffee, cigarettes, and rugs, what does one buy from Turkey?

I guess this means tens of billions of dollars that we can use elsewhere. Starting in Afghanistan, so that we don't lose face when we make a promise to help out.

March 1, 2003, 11:58 PM
Turkey makes and sells alot of shotguns to US.:(

Gary H
March 2, 2003, 12:02 AM

"Turkey approves US troop deployment

AFP Photo

The Turkish parliament approved the deployment of 62,000 US soldiers in the country for a possible attack on Iraq, parliamentary sources told AFP.

A total of 264 MPs in the 550-seat house voted in favour of the govenment motion, while 251 voted against, parliamentary sources said Saturday.

Nineteen deputies abstained.

Saturday's vote also allows for the dispatch of Turkish forces to northern Iraq in case of a war."

March 2, 2003, 12:08 AM
You mean we won't have to pay five billion dollars in blackmail to one of our allies???

Too bad.


March 2, 2003, 12:34 AM
It is well past time for us to pull up and move out of these other nations. When our troops go, not only does the security leave, but our $$$ that get pumped into the local economy will also go. Why not just reopen our shuttered bases in the US and let those dollars flow within our own borders. Hell, use some of the troops to strengthen our border security.

The Turks can go back to seeling rugs or brass lamps. Maybe when Saddam develops nukes and decides to lob some of those across the Bosporus and Dardanelles, they can rub their magic lamp and a genie will save them.

The Arabs in the Middle east do NOT want a democratic Iraq because they are all despotic, corrupt regimes concentrated in a few families. The Saudis and others actively foment terror against us and Israel.

The bases in Germany need to be vacated. Let them provide for their own defense. The massive number of troops in Germany that would be pulled out would impact their economy in a negative fashion. Push Japan and South Korea to become more self-suffienct as well. Relocate the HDQ from Souel to Japan. This would serve two benefits -- a more defensible position and a 37,000 man sucking sound coming from the Korean infrasructure.

Any country that has given aid or comfort to the enemy, or has been an obstacle to our self-defense gets zero foreign aid.

We also need to look to the Panama Canal that the Peanut Prince gave away. I don't feel comfy with the Chinese (Hutchison Whampoa) owning the real estate at both ends.

Just my opinion.

March 2, 2003, 02:19 AM
Well I guess they decided to deny us the use of their territory. That's their right and they did it in a democratic way. I can't say I was in favor of us adding to our deficit by bribing them for the privilege. I just hope they're willing to accept the consequences for their actions.

March 2, 2003, 02:39 AM
reading this stuff makes me as these people don't want us there, let Saddem invade them! And then we just tell them, weren't you guys the ones that didn't want our help??

I wish he would....Turkey's military would crush Saddam by itself.

March 2, 2003, 02:41 AM
Why do we help these people? It just doesn't make sense to me. :rolleyes:

March 2, 2003, 04:11 AM
You mean we won't have to pay five billion dollars in blackmail to one of our allies???
Last I heard it was more than 30 billion dollars we were offering in bribe money.

If Turkey is worried about a hostile neighbor, they should be offering the US money to defend her.

If they aren't worried about a hostile neighbor, why should we worry about their hostle neighbor?

Off the top of my head I can't think of any reason we should be buying allies.

March 2, 2003, 07:48 AM
I can understand Turkey's desire to sit this one out. They got hosed off pretty bad in Gulf I. They were not prepared for the refugees. The Kurds are both grumpy and frisky. Their numbers are a true threat to their internal security should it come to that. The country stands with one foot in Europe and one in the Middle East. The population is Muslim but the government's orientation is European. Sadaam will clearly thump Iraqi territory when the balloon goes up. The country is in really bad economic straits.

I understand (not the same as acceptance) their refusal to publically accept US forces. The operative term here is "publically". I have no doubt they are working behind the scenes to aid the US efforts. It just can't be public at this stage.

While Turkey's refusal is understandable, France in my view has none other than to keep 9% of its population (Islamic) from gettin' weird and to protect Jacques Chirac's six. The clown is dirty and is doing everything possible to protect himself. My personal boycott is directed toward France, not Turkey.

March 2, 2003, 08:54 AM
Agree with Waitone.

And, for the record, Wondernine is correct. Turkey's standing army is immense relative to anyone in the region.

Bear in mind that Turkey is the ONLY democratic country among those whose population is predominantly Islamic. Like it or not they are walking a very fine line between supporting US interest while quelling growing Islamic sympathy within. We may believe that sympathy to be unwarranted, but the simple truth is that politics are played the same way worldwide. And you don't stay in office in a democratic system by alienating the constituency.

I don't believe we've seen Turkey play their final card yet.


Sean Smith
March 2, 2003, 09:36 AM
Sour grapes aside, we may actually be better off NOT staging our troops in Turkey. Why?

For one thing, Turkey isn't our secular ally anymore. The Turks went and elected the Islamic Fruit Loop Party into power, and for once the Army didn't stage a coup to prevent it. With public opinion totally against any U.S. invasion of Iraq from their country, getting the current government to let us in anyway would probably cause widespread domestic instability. Enough to overthrow the government and install an Ayatollah? Probably not. But the current political trends in Turkey aren't pretty, and are starting to smell Iranian. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is spinning in his grave.

For another, it would spell almost certain escalation of the Turk-Kurd conflict that is just starting to fizzle out in Turkey itself. The last thing anybody in their right minds wants is Turks in the Kurdish areas of Iraq. Given their domestic policies, they'd probably give the Kurds the treatment they gave Armenia, insofar as they thought they could get away with it.

My suspicion is that the "Turkish Option" was only meant to be a bit of a distraction, along the lines of the Marines at sea that never attacked in 1991.

March 2, 2003, 12:10 PM
That's too bad about the turks. They are some bad hombres concerning military matters.

Mike Irwin
March 2, 2003, 03:01 PM
OK, no problem.

Discontinue ALL U.S. aide. Not just the new stuff that the US agreed to, but ALL of it.

March 2, 2003, 03:25 PM
Ever consider the whole thing might be a little deception for Saddam? Instead of placing troops on the border with Turkey and fortifying his positions, he now thinks he is safe and can move the troops to the south. The US forces are aboard ship off the coast and can easily and rapidly be moved to their jump-off point at the Turkey-Iraq border. A lot faster than Saddam can redeploy his troops there once the shooting starts.

On the other hand, if there is no war, Turkey can tell the other Islamic nations they didn't bow to US pressure and stood firm with their muslem brothers. Very important considering NATO has already left them hanging.

March 3, 2003, 11:43 AM
Turkey's economy took a big, huge dump today. The stock market dropped 13% and their currency dropped quite a bit, as well. I can't say that I have any sympathy.

If you enjoyed reading about "Turkey says NO to US troop deployments" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!