Wolfowitz in talks with Turkey over military bases

04 December 2002

US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said on 3 December that Washington is to begin discussions with Turkey over millions of dollars of investment in the country's airbases, which would be crucial in any attack on Iraq. Wolfowitz was in Turkey on 2 December for talks with the new government over the use of Turkish bases, and emerged to tell reporters that while no specific requests had been made, he was confident of having secured a high level of Turkish participation. 'We have agreement to move forward with concrete measures of military planning and preparations,' he said.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said on 2 December that the government would open the bases for US use, but the ministry then retreated somewhat, issuing a statement claiming no final decision had yet been taken. The Foreign Minister also emphasised Turkey's eagerness to see a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The country has much to lose from the potentially contagious turmoil and economic damage war would bring.

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