THE Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, confirmed yesterday that his country's Parliament has approved sending troops to support the post-war effort in Iraq. The military response has been made specifically at the request of the US and is not connected in any way with Turkish national interest.
On the second day of the 5th Open Forum at Formentor, designed to give world leaders an unofficial debating space, Erdogan gave assurances that Turkey would not take any decision that would prejudice the neighbourly relations it enjoys with Iraq. From the outset, we have emphasized that Turkish troops are there only to support coordination and infrastructure. If the Iraqi people have a chance to live with some established civil order, there is greater chance of their being steered towards a lasting peace said the prime minister. Erdogan pointed out that Turkish armed forces are currently on peaceful missions in 26 different countries. Iraq is our neighbour, and always will be stressed Erdogan. We are not going to risk destroying our essentially good relations he insisted. He called to mind that peace-keeping forces of other nationalities have been received with hostility in Iraq but maintained that it is not Turkey who has instigated the sending of troops but the US. We cannot lose sight of the final objective: to give much-needed help to the Iraqi people to rebuild their country on a democratic basis, with a new government, said Erdogan.
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