The Americans are clamping hard on Turkish leaders insisting they 'vote again'! All the talk about 'no time being left' and having to send the dozens of troops and supply ships elsewhere seems to be but more lies and pressures which the Americans have such a reputation for.
Ankara pushed to reverse troop vote
[Sydney Morning Hearld - March 4 2003]:
Under intense pressure from the United States, Turkey's Foreign Minister, Yasar Yakis, has indicated that his Government will ask Parliament for a new vote on whether to allow US troops to use the country as a base for a military attack against Iraq.
Mr Yakis was speaking after the MPs rejected such a plan.
After a marathon meeting of officials, Mr Yakis said the Government would take a new resolution to Parliament later this week, after the Government completes an assessment of the first vote.
While Mr Yakis offered no details of the Government's plans, several Turkish officials said much of Sunday had been spent debating whether to try again to obtain Parliament's approval for bringing as many as 62,000 US troops into the country.
The defeat shocked US officials, who had been assured by Turkish leaders that Parliament would approve the measure. The US was consulting Turkey on future steps after the parliamentary decision, a US official said. "Obviously, we're disappointed."
With about two dozen military cargo ships in the eastern Mediterranean standing by to unload tanks and other weaponry in Turkey for the US Fourth Infantry Division, Pentagon officials have been saying for days that virtually no time remained before the ships would have to be redirected to Kuwait and the war plan changed.
But no such order came on Sunday, according to several military officials, suggesting some slight flexibility still existed in the Pentagon's timetable.
The delay also appeared to reflect the reluctance of the US to give up on the Turkish option, for both military and political reasons.
The first indications that the Turkish officials might seek
a new vote followed a telephone call on Sunday to the Prime Minister, Abdullah Gul, from
the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell.
In a statement issued afterwards, Mr Gul said that the two men had agreed "to keep open the channels of communication".
Mr Gul also met the head of Turkey's politically influential military, General Hilmi Ozkok.
The military, which has intervened repeatedly in Turkish politics over the years, is thought to favour the US deployment.
Mr Gul did not discuss his plans in public on Sunday, but he tried to dispel impressions that the US-Turkish alliance, buttressed by a 50-year association in NATO, had been seriously harmed.
On Sunday the speculation centred on whether Mr Gul and his powerful mentor, the party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, could change the minds of enough dissenters to swing the vote in favour of the US deployment. Much of the focus was on Mr Erdogan, who is expected to become prime minister, provided he wins a by-election next week.
"Tayyip Erdogan put down all of this credibility for this motion, and it didn't work out," Cuneyd Zapsu, a party official, said.
"He won't do this again unless he is absolutely sure that there wouldn't be any problems."
Turkish public opinion, mindful of the economic disaster brought by the 1991 Gulf War, adamantly opposes the country's involvement in another war with Iraq.
Mr Erdogan endorsed the request, concluding that the US relationship was too valuable to spurn. In addition, Mr Erdogan and others had secured the promise of billions in US economic aid in return.
Only later did it become clear that Mr Erdogan and Mr Gul had miscalculated.
With the measure on the floor of Parliament, one MP said he felt the mood shift when the word went around that the Iraqi Government had begun destroying its illegal missiles that day, as the United Nations chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, had demanded.