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Turkey may send troops to Iraq

August 24, 2003

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ANKARA, Aug 23: Turkey will send 10,000 troops to Iraq if the government decides to help the US-led coalition to restore stability there, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said in an interview published on Saturday.

“We have not made a decision yet, but if we decide to send troops, their number would be about 10,000,” the minister told the tabloid Star newspaper.

Gul said he was in favour of a Turkish deployment in Iraq, adding that it was necessary if a resurgence of attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party was to be contained.

Turkish authorities believe that around 5,000 militants from the party, now known as Kadek, have sought refuge in the mountains that straddle Turkey’s border with Iraq.

Gul added that Turkish soldiers would not be as exposed to attack as US troops, which have been subjected to daily, often deadly attacks over the past few weeks.—AFP