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Cruise missiles fall in Turkey


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon has confirmed that two U.S. cruise missiles have fallen in unpopulated areas of Turkey but there have been no reports of injuries.

Turkish and U.S. military authorities are also investigating an earlier incident concerning an undetonated missile that appears to have fallen harmlessly in a remote village in southeastern Turkey.

No one was hurt by that missile, which witnesses said left a crater four meters wide and one meter deep.

The earlier missile fell in Ozveren, 690 kilometers (430 miles) northwest of the border with Iraq, about 5:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. EST), as planes were seen flying overhead, witnesses said.

The apparent missile errors come as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan appeared on national television to tell his countrymen that Turkey has granted permission to the United States to use its airspace to attack Iraq.

"We opened the airspace for Americans because we want to have a good relationship with our allies, and this is for our own security," he said.

He added that a buildup of Turkish troops along Turkey's border with Iraq is being carried out to ensure the country is not flooded with Kurdish refugees from northern Iraq.

"For the well-being of our country, we have to take precautions," he said.

Turks are concerned that Kurds in the autonomous region of Iraq might push for independence, and thereby enflame similar passions among Kurds in Turkey.

There are conflicting reports whether Turkish troops have already crossed the border into Iraq.

Turkey agreed Friday to open two air corridors over that nation for U.S. planes to use for air attacks on Iraq, said Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul.

Conflicting reports

Within hours, a contingent of more than 1,000 Turkish troops began crossing the border into northern Iraq, CNN Turk Military Correspondent Kemal Yurteri reported.

But Kurdish sources disputed that figure, and a senior U.S. State Department official told CNN that American officials were not told of any troop movements and considered the issue "still under discussion."

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged the Turks "have had some forces in northern Iraq for some time, not associated with what's going on right now. But in terms of any large numbers, they are not."

The U.S. does not want Turkish troops moving into Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Iraq for fear of clashes between Turkish and Kurdish troops.

In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush said Sunday he expected that Turkish troops would not enter Iraq, according to the Associated Press.

"We have got more troops up north, and we're making it very clear that we expect them not to come into northern Iraq," Bush reportedly said. "They know our policy, and it's a firm policy."

--CNN Correspondents Brent Sadler and Fredricka Whitfield contributed to this report


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