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Fredricka Whitfield: Turkey grants U.S. airspace use

CNN's Fredricka Whitfield
CNN's Fredricka Whitfield

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ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- The Turkish parliament Thursday voted to allow the United States to use its airspace for strikes on Iraq. CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield is in Turkey and talked to CNN's Bill Hemmer.

HEMMER: Fredricka, what do you have?

WHITFIELD: ... After three hours of deliberations, the Turkish parliament voted in favor of U.S. military overflights to begin their air assaults over northern Iraq.

The votes, 332 yes to 232 no, comes after parliament really was put into a corner in that it at first wanted to reintroduce a proposal that was introduced and rejected earlier in the month.

That would have included a U.S. $30 billion package, and that included $6 billion of direct U.S. aid, in exchange for full military access of the Turkish territories, air, land and sea. But then they had to go back and readdress that proposal and start all over and water it down, because the U.S. said it would no longer offer that $30 billion package. Go back and start again.

So they did, and offered an overflight only.

We still don't know if there was any financial incentive that came with that, but only that parliament had agreed to it. There was a second [part of] that proposal that calls for Turkish troops to be able to cross the border and go into northern Iraq.

And apparently, parliament has voted in favor of that. We know that the overflights involving the U.S. military can begin immediately. That would include fighter jets coming from Europe, or perhaps even the two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean, just off the Turkish coast -- the USS Truman and the USS Roosevelt.

But unclear is how quickly the Turkish troops might be able to make their move over into the northern Iraqi territory. That we're still not clear about from Turkish officials.

HEMMER: Fredricka, thanks. Fredricka Whitfield in Ankara, the Turkish capital.


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