Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Sunday, March 23, 2003

Turkish Military Denies Troops Entering Northern Iraq

Turkish military sources denied Saturday that Turkish troops had entered northern Iraq earlier in the morning.


Turkish military sources denied Saturday that Turkish troops had entered northern Iraq earlier in the morning.

The sources described as a "lie" the report that some 1,500 Turkish troops had entered northern Iraq through the provinces of Hakkari and Cukurca in southeastern Turkey at 00:30 local time Saturday, Turkish NTV reported.

NTV also quoted an Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman in northern Iraq as saying on the same day that "no Turkish troops entered northern Iraq earlier this morning."

The spokesman said it was unnecessary for Turkish troops to enter northern Iraq.

About 10,000 Turkish troops had reportedly entered northern Iraq previously to fight Kurdish Workers' Party guerrillas who were active in northern Iraq.

The Turkish Parliament on Thursday approved the government's second motion for opening the country's airspace for the United States to attack Iraq from the north, and sending Turkish troops into northern Iraq to protect the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Iraq and the security in the Turkish-Iraqi border region.

On the issue of Turkish troops entering northern Iraq, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said in Washington on Friday that "there is no need for the Turkish troops to enter northern Iraq."

In another development, Britain has requested the use of the Incirlik Airbase in Turkey's southern province of Adana for the US-led war on Iraq.

Turkey opened its Incirlik base to US warplanes bombarding Iraqduring the 1991 Gulf War. The base is still used by a US-British force enforcing a no-fly zone declared by the Unites States and Britain over northern Iraq.

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