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Turkey Rejects Sending More Troops To Afghanistan

During his short visit in Ankara today, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had talks with Turkish leaders, and not only about Turkey’s military operation in northern Iraq. According to Turkish media reports Secretary Gates also brought ‘a package of requests’ from Turkey. Turkish press and news agencies are reporting that the Turkish Chief of General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit rejected the U.S. demand for Turkey to send combat teams to Afghanistan.

Buyukanit said, ''We are fighting against terrorism as we speak. Turkish soldiers are at a war against the PKK terrorists. Therefore, it is not possible for us to send any combat personnel to fight against terrorism in Afghanistan''.

Turkey has twice commanded the NATO forces in Afghanistan [ISAF] and has around 750 troops in the Kabul area. In addition, there are around 100 Turkish military and civilian personnel based in Vardak, south of Kabul, who work with provincial reconstruction teams.

Source: Hurriyet, Milliyet, Turkey, February 28, 2008

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