Iraq Calls on Turkey to Oppose Eventual United States Strike
Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, in remarks to visiting Turkish journalists, called on Ankara on Sunday to oppose an eventual US military strike on Iraq.
"Iraq hopes that Turkey ... will not assist foreigners who want to harm Iraq," he told reporters accompanying an official Turkish delegation led by State Minister for Foreign Trade Tunca Toskay.
Turkey is opposed to an attack on Iraq, fearing that it could cause regional turmoil and worsen the economic bottleneck that has been squeezing Ankara since last year.
However Ramadan said Turkey's position "could be better," adding that it was in Ankara's "interest at the economic and security levels to cooperate directly with the central government" in Baghdad, AFP reported.
He was referring to Ankara's contacts with rival Kurdish factions controlling a Western-protected enclave in the northern part of Iraq that has been off limits to the Baghdad government since the 1991 Gulf War.
Ramadan deplored the fact that Turkey served as a base for US and British warplanes enforcing a "no-fly zone" over northern Iraq, saying Baghdad "could not establish trust (with Turkey) or open up strategic opportunities for this country if its political stand remains negative."
Turkey should demonstrate "good neighborliness" toward Iraq, precluding "foreign meddling in its relations" with Baghdad, he added.
Turkish support would be crucial for the United States if it decided to strike Iraq, just as in the Gulf War, when US jets used bases in the southern part of Turkey to launch bombing raids on Baghdad. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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