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    Gen.Basbug: Political Condition

    Hürriyet Haber
    02.10.2003 - 12:49 | Son Güncelleme:

    Chief of Joint Staff Hilmi Ozkok and Second Chief of Joint Staff Ilker Basbug said that they were not aware of the condition in the 8.5-billion-dollar loan agreement with U.S. that Turkish troops would not enter Northern Iraq.

    As the generals were expected to make statements on secularism, their statement against the northern Iraq condition and the failure of the government in informing them about it, had been surprising.

    In the reception inaugurating the new legislative year at Parliament, commanders denied the remarks of State Minister Ali Babacan, who had told Milliyet a few days ago, “We asked the view of the Foreign Ministry regarding the agreement on the 8.5-billion-dollar from U.S. They told us that there was no legal or political problem about the agreement. Military and political issues are the ones on which the Joint Staff and Foreign Ministry are experts.”

    Ozkok: We Are Disturbed
    Upon the question of Ensar Ogut, a deputy from Republican People's Party (CHP), on whether the viewpoint of the army was sought before the loan agreement was signed, Gen. Ozkok said, “We were not asked.”
    On whether the conditions of the agreement were serious or not, Ozkok said, “No one asked us anything. No one told us, “We signed such and such agreement.” That is in the discretion of the government itself, it should take care about it. In fact sending troops to Northern Iraq and the loan should be handled separately. That is our personal view. It is not appropriate to discuss money-related issues and this issue in the same context.”

    Asked if he was disturbed by this situation, Ozkok said, “Of course. But I do not know why they linked these two decisions or whether it is true. We learn about that, through the media.” Following Ozkok, Aytac Yalman, the Ground Forces Commander, also said, “The link between the two issues disturbed us.”

    We Did Not Know
    On the loan agreement, Gen. Basbug said, “We did not know anything about it. However the agreement can be accessed through Internet. It includes statements that we will not enter into Northern Iraq unilaterally. It is not appropriate for an economic agreement to include such political conditions. It is an irrelevant and meaningless condition.”

    They Attended Together With Their Spouses
    In the reception, hosted by Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, there was no turban crisis. Except for 3 Justice and Development Party (AKP) members, no one brought his turbaned wife to the reception. Chief of Joint Staff Hilmi Ozkok, force commanders, the Gendarme General Commander, Secretary General of National Security Board (MGK), and the Second Chief of Joint Staff attended the reception together with their wives. Regarding the fact that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer did not attend the reception, Arinc said, “It is not the end of the world. There is nothing extraordinary.”

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