Istanbul, 7 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The chief of Turkey's armed forces says the detention of Turkish troops by U.S. troops in Iraq over the weekend has caused tension between the two NATO allies. Chief of General Staff Hilmi Ozkok today said the situation has led to a "crisis of confidence" between Turkish and U.S. forces. He said both sides will cooperate in an investigation of the incident.
The U.S. Army detained 11 Turkish soldiers on Friday (4 July) in Kurdish-held northern Iraq on suspicion that they were preparing attacks against civilian Iraqi officials. All 11 soldiers were released yesterday.
Turkey has maintained a military presence in northern Iraq since the 1990s in order to pursue Turkish Kurdish separatists.