U.S. praises Turkish vote

Thursday, March 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Ankara, Turkey-AP) -- The State Department is welcoming permission from Turkey for U-S warplanes to use its airspace.

But spokesman Richard Boucher says the U-S is opposed to Turkish troops entering northern Iraq.

The measure that opens up Turkish airspace was approved today by Turkey's parliament. It also allows Turkish troops to enter northern Iraq. But the U-S fears any unilateral entry could lead to friendly fire incidents or clashes with Iraqi Kurds.

Access to Turkish airspace makes it easier for U-S heavy bombers to strike Iraq and to move troops and supplies to the region. But details for the overflights must still be worked out and that could take time, depending on Turkish demands.

Also, the measure passed by parliament does not allow U.S. warplanes to use Turkish air bases or refuel in Turkey.