As the only Muslim country to agree to send troops to Iraq to help US-led occupation force, Turkey earned a hostile response from the Iraqis.

Stung by the reaction, the Turkish government finally scrapped the deployment plan altogether on Friday.

"The government has decided not to implement the motion to send troops to Iraq," government sources said.

Setback

The decision is a major blow to the US-led occupation authority, which has been desperate to secure help from other countries to bolster its military operations in Iraq.

"The government has decided not to implement the motion to send troops to Iraq"

Turkish official



But not sending troops to Iraq eases pressure on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who went against public opinion to bail out the beleaguered US by agreeing  to deploy troops.

Though neighbours, Iraq and Turkey have had an uncomfortable relationship and the average Iraqi is suspicious of Turkish motives in Iraq.

The Turkish-deployment plan was more vehemently opposed by the Iraqi Kurds. 

Turkish troops already have a number of bases in northern Iraq set up to fight Turkish Kurd rebels, seeking to carve out a separate Kurdistan.