Turkish parliament approves US overflight rights

20 March 2003
The Turkish Parliament on 20 March approved overflight rights for US aircraft launching missions against Iraq. The bill, supported by the governing Justice & Development Party (AKP), passed by 332 votes to 202 with one abstention. It does not entail the use by the US of Turkish bases or allow refuelling in Turkey, and there was no second vote on the deployment of US troops. AKP leader and newly-appointed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged members of his party to support the proposal. 'It is important that our party's unity is not disrupted,' he told deputies before the vote. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer earlier in the day criticised President Bush's decision to go to war. 'I do not find the US' unilateral behaviour right before the UN process is completed,' he said.

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