Turkish ambassador denies Israeli forces in north Iraq
Iraq, Military, 11/21/1997
Concerning what had been said about calling a halt to Turkey's military cooperation with Israel, Bashar Yakish, the Turkish ambassador in Cairo, said that common maneuvers postponed from this month will be conducted at the beginning of the next year. He also stated that these maneuvers are not directed against any neighboring Arab states.
The Turkish ambassador reaffirmed that conducting any military operation in Iraq would affect Turkish national security. He also asserted his country's stance concerning the water issue between Turkey, Iraq and Syria, saying that Turkey submitted a proposal to Syria to hold a meeting in order to reach a settlement for the best way to use the water resources.
The Turkish ambassador explained his country's refusal to sign the river water agreement saying that "we have to devise different rules concerning the rivers that cross the borders as the situation between Turkey, Syria and Iraq has changed."
Yakish announced his country's refusal to launch an attack against Iraq. He confirmed his country's refusal to grant permission to use Turkish lands in military operations aimed at attacking Iraq in this last crisis with the United Nations, pointing out that Turkey would be among the most badly injured from these operations.
He said in a press declaration after prolonged talks with Dr. Esmat Abdel Meguid, the secretary-general of the Arab League, before his meeting with Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi deputy prime minister, that his country supports a diplomatic and political solution to this crisis.
Concerning the Turkish military presence in the north of Iraq, the Turkish ambassador said that several days ago, the Turkish forces started their withdrawal from north Iraq, expressing his hope that the withdrawal of the rest of the forces will be completed as soon as possible.
The ambassador denied the existence of any military or civil Israeli elements among the Turkish forces in northern Iraq. He added that if there are Israeli elements, these elements didn't enter Iraq through the Turkish borders, or among Turkish forces.
In related news, informed sources in the Arab League said that the Turkish ambassador asked to meet the secretary general to be informed of the Arab point of view concerning the developments in the Iraq situation and the peace process. Sources said that the secretary-general informed the Turkish ambassador of the league's refusal of the use of force against Iraq and the necessity for the immediate withdrawal of all the Turkish forces from north Iraq.
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