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Turkey Unsure on Bases

From Times Wire Services

The leader of the party that won Turkey’s weekend election refused Wednesday to commit to allowing U.S. warplanes to use Turkish bases in any war with Iraq and said he hoped Washington would seek a peaceful resolution to the standoff with Baghdad.

“The most preferred result is to resolve this issue in peace,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party. “We don’t want blood, tears or death.”

Erdogan has said his party is looking to follow a moderate, pro-Western path. He says that while his party opposes a war in Iraq, it would respect decisions made by the U.N.

Turkey’s military, which has close ties with the Pentagon, has also raised concerns over a war next door, but military analysts have said the generals would almost certainly provide logistical support in the event the U.S. strikes Iraq.

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Armed forces chief Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said Wednesday that the U.S. should avoid a war in Iraq but that Turkey’s differences with Washington over the issue could be ironed out.


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