Turkey tells Cheney won't send troops or money to Afghanistan

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Turkey tells Cheney wont send troops or money to Afghanistan
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Mart 24, 2008 11:07

US Vice President Dick Cheney met Monday with Turkish leaders who told him they would not send more troops or money to Afghanistan for now, a senior US official told reporters after the talks. "They were certainly, I think, happy to look at, to see whether there was any possibility of more they could do, but (offered) no immediate short-term commitments," AFP quoted the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying. Cheney, on the last leg of a nine-day overseas tour, met with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and chief of general staff General Yasar Buyukanit in Ankara. (UPDATED)

Haberin Devamı

In all three meetings, Cheney "got great expressions of support for the US backing in their fight against the PKK and how helpful the United States had been both with Turkey but also between Turkey and Iraq," the official said. 

Last week, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Ankara will soon decide on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, a day after Buyukanit opposed the idea, saying that his forces were already busy fighting outlawed PKK separatists.

Turkey has deployed 1,200 soldiers. They are deployed in relatively safe Kabul area but Ankara has so far refused to send combat troops to fight Taliban forces further south.

Besides Afghanistan Cheney also discussed with Turkish officials various issues such as the situation in Iraq, and Kosovo, as well as the peace process in the Middle East and international terrorism, the official Anatolian Agency reported.

Haberin Devamı

"All the Turks he (Cheney) met agree that Turkey needs to work -- not only with the Iraqi central government -- but they need to work with political forces and political leaders in northern Iraq as well," the official said, AFP reported.

The U.S. shares real-time intelligence with Turkey, in its fight against the PKK separatists, who use bases in northern Iraq to launch attacks against Turkey.

Ankara and Washington label PKK a terrorist organization and American officials repeatedly have said PKK is the common enemy of Turkey, the U.S. and Iraq.

"They all said they have no problem with the population in northern Iraq, the Kurdish population, they want to have good relations," the official said aboard Cheney's official Air Force Two airplane.

"They want to work cooperatively against the PKK. The vice president expressed appreciation for that and said that we would be fully supportive of trying to continue and enhance that cooperation."

Cheney expressed their concerns over "nuclear armament program" of Iran. Erdogan said Iran should work with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and negotiate and solve the problem in a way to eliminate concerns of the international community, AA said.

Haberin Devamı

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and its enrichment work is aimed only at producing nuclear-generated electricity, not at making warheads.

It has refused to suspend enrichment despite a third round of sanctions recently imposed on it by the United Nations Security Council.

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