CNN BREAKING NEWS
Turkey to Allow U.S. to Upgrade Some Bases There
Aired February 6, 2003 - 10:56 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: There has been a potentially very significant development involving the showdown with Iraq, this development involving Turkey.
Let's go live to CNN's Jane Arraf. She's joining us now from Ankara in Turkey to tell us what the Turkish parliament decided -- Jane.
JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, moments ago, Turkey's parliament decided that it would allow the United States to modernize its bases.
Now what that actually means is they've taken a first step to allowing U.S. troops to use the bases. This is what has to happen before they take the next step. Now that more significant vote will be delayed somewhat, that's expected to happen next week, but the ruling party here is trying to gather political support for that, and the indications are that this, too, will go through.
Now Turkey has been making clear recently that it has tried but failed to try to work toward a peaceful solution, and now it has to work toward preparing for war, and this is part of that effort -- Wolf.
BLITZER: The Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Jane, seems to be in the middle of a difficult situation, although he apparently decided he has no choice, but to side with the United States right now in this showdown with Iraq and start preparations for the use of Turkish bases and ports by U.S. troops. Is that fair?
ARRAF: You're right, he's in a very tough spot, as is his party. Now his party is only in government for the last three months. They were elected with pretty well a landslide, the first majority government in years in Turkey. What they're up against is very significant public opposition to a war, and their own fears, fears of the government and military that any war in neighboring Iraq could go very, very wrong, and in Turkish terms, that would mean the Kurds getting more power.
Further to that, there were meetings today, also very interesting, special U.S. envoys. Almal Hilal Dad (ph) was here today, meeting with top Kurdish officials who have come from northern Iraq. What they're discussing is the aftermath of the war, what sort of shape a government would have. But that's jumping forward a bit, and what's on everyone's mind is when this war will start and how it will play out -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jane Arraf in Ankara, Turkey, reporting on a potentially significant development.
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