Turkey Sends Thousands Of
Troops To Iraq Border
Special To World

ANKARA -- Turkey has moved additional troops to its southern border with Iraq.
Turkish sources said thousands of military and paramilitary forces were deployed around the Iraqi border over the weekend. They said the forces were comprised of mostly infantry as well as support units.
The reason for the Turkish deployment was not given. But the troop movement was reported during escalated fighting in northern Iraq between pro-U.S. forces and Al Qaida supporters near the Iranian border. Much of the fighting has taken place near the city of Halabja during the Muslim holiday of Id El Fitr, Middle East Newsline reported.
The United States has deployed the aircraft carrier Harry Truman in the Mediterranean. The warship, regarded as the most advanced in the U.S. Navy, heads a carrier group of 12 warships and 80,000 soldiers.
Turkey was already said to have more than 10,000 troops along the Iraqi border. Many of the troops were deployed in northern Iraq and operate in coordination with the United States.
The military has also transported communications and logistics to the Iraqi border. The sources said the supplies and troops arrived from southern and southeastern Turkey.
Turkish sources said the military preparations near the Iraqi border have led to increased tension with the new Islamic-oriented government of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul. They said civilian officials and military commanders openly disagreed over Ankara's policy during the visit by U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to to Turkey last week. At one point, Turkish Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit disputed an assertion by Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis that Ankara had decided to allow U.S. warplanes to use Turkish air force bases for any war against Iraq.


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