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Vote in Turkish Parliament - 2003-03-04

It appears Turkey will seek a second vote on U.S. troop deployment. This comes after Turkey’s Parliament rejected plans for U.S. deployment on Saturday. Bob Morris has more on this.

Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul says Parliament's rejection of U.S. troops should not destroy his country's good relations with Washington.

"It is without doubt that Turkish-American relations are strategical relations, our friendly relationship of mutual understanding with the United States will go on, one should not limit it to a motion."

Mr. Gul spoke by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Sunday, and Mr. Powell assured him that U.S.-Turkish relations are solid and will remain friendly.

The leader of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party, Tayyip Erdogan, expects there will be a second attempt for an agreement that would allow up to 62,000 U.S. troops to use Turkey as a base for possible attacks against Iraq.

TAYYIP ERDOGAN (translated)
“In accordance with the parliaments democratic preference, our government and our state are ready to develop the most suitable alternatives and capable of applying them."

In return for allowing troops on their soil, the United States has offered Turkey billions of dollars in grants and loans. There is no indication of when new legislation on the deployment of troops could be introduced. Mr. Erdogan stressed that Iraq should not slow down cooperation with the United Nations because of the vote.

TAYYIP ERDOGAN (translated)
"At this stage the biggest mistake the Iraqi government would make [is to] misevaluate the Turkish Parliament's decision and begin slowing down its active cooperation with the United Nations."

The ruling Justice and Development Party met Sunday to discuss what to do next about the U.S. deployment plan. The plan failed to win approval by a three-vote margin in Turkey’s 550-member Grand National Assembly.