Gen. Basbug said, “We are expecting that the Interim Government in Iraq will soon display a more positive attitude towards our sending troops to Iraq. However political authorities will make the necessary evaluations. If we participate in the stability operation we will use some supply routes in Northern Iraq for logistic reinforcement. We will work in coordination with U.S. forces on this issue. If Kurd groups attack on our convoys, they will be responded. That is their problem, let them think about it. TSK has the capability to protect its convoys and presence there.”
Regarding the number of troops to be sent to Iraq or the timing of the dispatch, Basbug said that he had no idea about these subjects, but according to the permit passed from Parliament, troops would stay there for one year. Basbug said that Parliament could prolong this duration if necessary.
Issue Of Loan
Upon a question, Gen. Ilker Basbug said that the government did not give any information regarding the content of the 8.5-billion-dollar agreement, which government signed with U.S. in Dubai and which includes a clause that Turkey would not send troops to Northern Iraq.
Regarding the route, which will be followed by Turkish troops on their way to Iraq, Basbug said, “If Turkey sends troops to Iraq, these will use the existing railway and highway network of Iraq for dispatch. The U.S. side has no hesitation regarding this dispatch route. The Ovakoy Border gate is not an alternative for the Habur Border Gate. It will be used as a complementary gate for Habur.”
“We Are Expecting U.S. To Do What Is Necessary About PKK-KADEK”
On a question about fighting KADEK-PKK, Basbug said, “No matter if Turkey takes part in the stability operation or not, she will continue to fight PKK-KADEK in cooperation with U.S.” regarding the expectations from U.S. On the issue of termination of PKK-KADEK Basbug said, “We may or may not go to Iraq. What we want is to see that necessary measures taken against PKK-KADEK. The talks with U.S. on the issue are positive. However, we cannot say that U.S. took any measure against PKK-KADEK in Northern Iraq after the end of the war. We have agreed on the point that PKK-KADEK militants should be eliminated. We are expecting that U.S. will initiate some sanctions against PKK.”