Erdogan brushes aside deployment criticisms

10 October 2003
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan on 9 October brushed aside objections to the deployment of Turkish soldiers in Iraq in the near future. 'Turkish soldiers are not going [to Iraq] as a police or gendarme force,' he said in Ankara. 'Negative approaches to soldiers who go for peace and tranquillity cannot be accepted.' The cabinet's decision to send troops was approved by the Turkish parliament on 7 October, but goes against public opinion in the country. 'We are going somewhere that we are not welcome,' said member of parliament Inal Batu. This sentiment has been echoed by members of the Iraqi interim governing council, who see Turkey's offer of help as problematic. 'We shall positively take into account the needs of our friends in the coalition who are keen on having the Turkish army here, but at the same time there are important sensitivities that must be considered,' said the council's president Iyad Allawi (MEED 8:10:03).

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) administrator Paul Bremer on 8 October held talks with members of the interim council to discuss opposition to Turkish troops. Officials described the talks as 'productive'.

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