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Turkish Election May Alter War Diplomacy


In Turkey, governing party leader Recep Tayip Erdogan swept the elections, paving the way for him to become the next prime minister.

RECEP TAYIP ERDOGAN, PRIME-MINISTER-ELECT
"Our job is hard, our way is long, but with the support of our nation we feel self-confident. I would like to thank our great nation."

Mr. Erdogan’s victory is seen as a positive step towards getting Turkey to allow U.S. troops to be based in the country. Mr. Erdogan supports the U.S. request to deploy more than 60,000 U.S. troops in return for aid packages valued at more than 15 billion dollars. The troops would likely be used to invade Iraq from the north in the event of war.

In Washington, the election results have renewed hope that the U.S. will be able to base troops in the country in preparation for a possible war in Iraq. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Robert Pearson met with Mr. Erdogan Sunday, hours after the election was final.

ROBERT PEARSON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY
“I think this gives a very positive stimulus to our efforts and we will continue to work and give this our very best efforts to see if we can finalize the details.”

But, Turkish media say Mr. Erogan is likely to wait to form a new government before re-submitting the U.S. troop deployment motion to parliament for another vote. More than a week ago Turkish lawmakers rejected a U.S. troop deployment.

Despite the benefit economically that Turkey would receive from the U.S, nine out of 10 Turks are still against the American deployment and a war with Iraq.

NATURAL SOUND, MAN ON THE STREET

This man says he would rather stay hungry then accept American dollars. But the Turkish Government and the highly influential military both support the deployment.

NATURAL SOUND, TURK TALKING

Another Turk said he is not for war but the Turkish-American cooperation will benefit Turkey.

The Turkish military has begun to move troops and military equipment to the Iraqi border. Hundreds of army trucks loaded with military armor and other hardware are heading toward the border, in an apparent buildup ahead of a possible U.S. led war against Iraq.

Despite parliament’s earlier rejection of a U.S. deployment, American military equipment has already begun to be deployed in Turkey.

And in Kuwait U.S. forces have continued their buildup with more than 150,000 troops in the country. U.S. military leaders say if an invasion of Iraq is launched the military is ready.

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