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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkey, U.S. Dispute Aid Package Amount

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey and the United States on Wednesday again failed to reach an agreement on the size of an economic aid package that would open the way for Turkey's parliament to approve the deployment of tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers.

Turkey has delayed voting on letting in the troops, saying a multibillion-dollar aid package must first be approved that would compensate for any losses during a war in Iraq.

Ships carrying equipment for a U.S. infantry division are already at sea and Washington is pressing for a quick answer. The United States wants to base tens of thousands of soldiers in Turkey who would open a northern front against Iraq in any war.

"The framework that we are looking for in an agreement has not materialized yet," Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener told reporters after a Cabinet meeting. He said, however, that negotiations were ongoing and that the situation could change.

Even as Sener was speaking, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul was holding more consultations with ministers and Foreign Ministry officials on a U.S. proposal.

Earlier, U.S. Ambassador Robert Pearson said time was running out for Turkey to make a decision on troop deployment.

"Time is a critical issue for us," Pearson told reporters after meeting with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal.

"We can reach a resolution because Turkey and the U.S. were always able to do so," Pearson said. "We want to reach an agreement as soon as possible."

Turkey is demanding $10 billion in grants and up to $20 billion in long-term loans, diplomats said.

Private NTV television said Wednesday that the United States offered Turkey $7 billion in grants and military debt write-off. There was no immediate information on additional offers.

An earlier package called for $4 billion-15 billion in grant, debt forgiveness and loans, depending on the impact of a war. Parliament had been expected to vote Tuesday on allowing in the troops, but Turkish officials said a vote was out of the question until an agreement is reached.

Also Wednesday, NATO approved the urgent deployment of AWACS radar aircraft, Patriot missile systems and chemical-biological response units to Turkey.

The decision was made by the same Defense Planning Committee that convened Sunday to approve the start of military planning to defend Turkey. The committee excludes France, which opposed the move.

The 18 ambassadors took less than 15 minutes to back a recommendation from alliance military experts to "implement, as a matter of urgency, defensive measures to protect Turkey," NATO officials said.

Turkey's population is overwhelmingly opposed to a war and Turkey's new government has been hesitant to back the United States.