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President: Turkey not to send combat troops to Afghanistan
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08:59, April 03, 2008

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Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Wednesday that Turkey has no intention to deploy combat troops in Afghanistan, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

"Turkey is closely interested in Afghanistan but we have no intention of sending combat troops," Gul said at Esenboga Airport in the Turkish capital of Ankara before his departure for Romania to attend a NATO summit.

Gul's remarks turned down statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan last month that the government might consider sending more combat troops to Afghanistan.

"The general tendency is to support Afghanistan in all ways, including military ones," Babacan said during a joint press conference with the visiting Afghan FM Rengin Spanta on March 19.

Spanta said he had asked for Turkey's support in fighting against Afghanistan's terrorism problem. "Their response was positive."

However, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanithad said that the military would not dispatch even a single troop to the southern region of Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban.

NATO and the United States are pressuring allies to do more for the 42,000-strong mission in Afghanistan. NATO will discuss the Afghanistan mission in the upcoming NATO summit that will take place in April in Bucharest, Romania.


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