Turkey Allows U.S. to Send Supplies to Northern Iraq
In northern Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said at a joint press conference with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, ”We have solved all the outstanding issues with respect to providing supplies through Turkey to those units.”
At the conference, Gul said, “Food aid, fuel and other humanitarian aid will be carried out through Turkey. There is mutual agreement.”
Resolving a key sticking point for the U.S., Gul said a parliamentary measure approving these measures was unnecessary.
Powell said details of increased military cooperation, such as evacuating wounded members of the military from northern Iraq to Turkey and allowing U.S. planes to make emergency landings in Turkey, were still being discussed.
The secretary of state also repeated his disappointment with Turkey for refusing to let the U.S. use the country to invade Iraq from the north. He said the U.S. “worked around” Turkey’s refusal by parachuting more than 1,000 U.S. troops into northern Iraq last week, along with tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.
The leaders also announced an “early warning system” intended to offset potential friction between Turkey and northern Iraq’s Kurds. The U.S. has been concerned Turkey may send their own troops into northern Iraq, potentially causing conflict with Kurdish groups and complicating the war. Powell reassured Turkey’s leaders that U.S. troops have stabilized the situation.
“We have the situation under control,” he said. “There is no need for movement of troops across the border.”
Powell’s visit with Turkish officials is the first leg in a quick European visit aimed at warming relations that soured considerably over the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Turkish Foreign Minister Gul said the secretary’s visit had yielded positive results.
“The visit of Secretary Powell has strengthened our relations and helped to dispel all issues with regard to relations between the two countries,” he said.