Turkey to decide on Iraq peacekeepers

Turkey’s cabinet has said it will ask parliament to consider a motion to deploy peacekeepers in neighbouring Iraq.

Deputies refused to allow the US to invade Iraq from Turkish soil
Deputies refused to allow the US to invade Iraq from Turkish soil

Cabinet spokesman Cemil Cicek said the motion would be sent to parliament late on Monday, with a vote possibly coming as early as Tuesday.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes parliament will approve the motion despite the assembly’s rejection of a government request to let US forces deploy on Turkish soil to invade Iraq.

Cicek said government ministers were confident the motion would pass.


“Had we had any doubts, we wouldn’t be sending this motion,” he said after a five-hour cabinet meeting.

Cicek said the motion called for a year-long deployment, but that it did not specify how many troops would be sent. He gave few other details.

Turkish officials have signalled in the past they could commit as many as 10,000 peacekeepers to Iraq.

Turkey is a key American ally

Turkey is a key American ally

They are expected to be deployed in Arab Sunni-dominated central Iraq rather than in the mainly Kurdish north.

Kurdish suspicions

Iraqi Kurds are suspicious of Turkey’s intentions in northern Iraq, which Turkey considers part of its sphere of influence and where it keeps a few thousand troops to pursue Turkish Kurdish rebels.

Any Turkish deployment is seen as an important step in improving ties with Washington, badly strained after parliament narrowly failed to approve the government’s request in March.

Late last month Washington agreed to provide loans to debt-ridden Turkey, worth $8.5 billion.


It stipulated as a condition Ankara’s cooperation on Iraq, though it denied that the aid hinged on the sending of Turkish peacekeepers.

Financial markets concerned about the loan agreement have been watching closely for signs that the government will push through the motion.

The loans are meant to bolster Turkey’s economy and to compensate for losses incurred during the US-led war in Iraq, which most Turks strongly opposed.

Source : Reuters

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