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Iraq: Turkish Military Endorses Role in U.S.-led Multinational Stabilization Force

Ankara, 10 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The second-most-senior officer in the Turkish Army said today that he is in favor of sending troops into Iraq to help U.S. troops provide security. Army Deputy Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit said in Ankara today that Turkey cannot "close our eyes and remain indifferent" to instability in a neighboring country.

Buyukanit said talks between the Turkish government and the army about the possibility of deployments in Iraq are progressing. It is the first time Turkey's military has publicly endorsed deployments to Iraq as part of a U.S.-led multinational stabilization force.

Ankara is due to decide in the coming weeks on a possible mission in Iraq. A majority of politicians and much of the public are thought to be opposed to such a move.

Under the Turkish Constitution, the parliament must approve any deployment of troops abroad.