Turkey's parliament has failed to approve the deployment of US combat troops in Turkey, jeopardizing US war plans in Iraq and putting the country's strategic alliance with Washington at risk.
The leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party were meeting yesterday to decide whether to resubmit the motion to parliament. The parliament on Saturday voted 264-250 in favor of stationing US troops, with 19 abstentions, but it fell three short of a simple majority for approval.
Washington has been counting on Turkish support.
Hundreds of US trucks and jeeps line a port in southern Turkey, waiting for parliamentary approval. Washington has been pressing Turkey for weeks to agree to a northern front, which would split Saddam Hussein's army between the north and the south, likely making a war shorter and less bloody.
US Ambassador Robert Pearson to Turkey expressed disappointment.
"We had certainly hoped for a favorable decision," Pearson said Saturday. "We will wait for further information and advice from the government of Turkey about how we should proceed."
The White House withheld official comment, but officials said privately that the administration remains convinced it ultimately will get its way.
However, it was not clear whether the government will push the controversial motion once again through the parliament when it reconvenes tomorrow. After a late night meeting Saturday, government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government was not planning to resubmit the motion to parliament, private NTV and CNN-Turk television stations reported. However, that report could not be independently confirmed.
The motion would have empowered the government to authorize the basing of up to 62,000 US troops, 255 warplanes and 65 helicopters.
Washington had offered Turkey US$15 billion in loans and grants if it accepted a basing deal to ease the impact of any war on the Turkish economy. That money may now be lost.
The failure of the government was a reflection of the overwhelming opposition felt in the public against war in neighboring Iraq. Tens of thousands of Turks protested against war while lawmakers discussed the motion. Many Turks fear retaliatory attacks from Baghdad.
Washington strongly supported Turkey when it secured billions of dollars in loans from the International Monetary Fund during the 2001 financial crisis. But if Turkey does not support the US war plans, many Turks fear that support will disappear.
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
‘HARASSMENT’: A record 103 Chinese warplanes were detected in 24 hours, posing severe challenges to security in the Taiwan Strait and the region, the ministry said Taiwan yesterday told China to stop its “destructive unilateral actions” after more than 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships were detected in areas around the nation. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) described the number of warplanes detected in 24 hours as a “recent high,” while Beijing has so far refrained from issuing any official comment on the sorties. “Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defense had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,”
IMPORTS: Fifty-four million imported eggs with a value of more than NT$200 million had to be destroyed, mostly because they expired in storage facilities Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) last night announced that he would resign from his post. Local media on Sunday reported that Chen had resigned due to controversy over the ministry’s egg import program. Later that same evening, the Executive Yuan said that Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) had asked the minister to stay on to resolve the issue. Chen Chi-chung last night made public his decision to resign on Facebook, saying that this time he would not be dissuaded. Chen Chi-chung earlier yesterday apologized for the furor surrounding the egg import program, but added that misinformation had made the problems worse. The government was