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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkey to Resubmit Measure

ANKARA, Turkey -- Under intense American pressure, Turkey's foreign minister has indicated that his government would ask parliament to vote a second time on whether to allow U.S. troops to use the country as a base for a military attack against Iraq.

The minister, Yasar Yakis, spoke after lawmakers rejected such a plan. After a marathon meeting of senior officials, Yakis said Sunday that his government would take a new resolution to parliament later this week after the government completed an assessment of the first vote.

"The process will be completed, and then it will come," Yakis said, referring to a new resolution.

While Yakis offered no details of his government's plans, several officials said much of Sunday had been spent debating whether to try again to obtain parliament's approval for bringing as many as 62,000 U.S. troops into the country. On Saturday, parliament failed to pass the measure by three votes.

The defeat shocked American officials, who had been assured by Turkish leaders that parliament would approve the measure. The first indications that the Turkish officials might seek a new vote followed a telephone call today to the Turkish prime minister, Abdullah Gul, from Secretary of State Colin Powell.

A statement issued afterward by Gul said the two men had agreed "to keep open the channels of communication."

Gul did not discuss his plans in public, but he tried to dispel impressions that the U.S.-Turkish alliance, buttressed by a 50-year association in NATO, had been seriously harmed.

"Our friendly relationship of mutual understanding with the United States will go on," Gul said. "The Iraqi leaders should not exploit parliament's decision. If they misunderstand and delay cooperation with the United Nations, then the chance of peace will reduce."

In a dramatic vote Saturday, more Turkish legislators voted in favor of the American deployment than voted against it. After a chaotic interlude, Turkish officials announced that the measure had been defeated because it had not been approved by a majority of those present, as required by the Turkish Constitution. Nineteen Turkish lawmakers abstained from voting.

The final vote was 264 votes in favor to 251 against. Passage would have required 267 votes.

Only hours before the vote, Gul held a straw ballot of the 300-plus Justice and Development Party members who dominate the 550-seat parliament.

Only about 50 members, the party's core of Islamist-minded politicians, said they would vote against it. That should have given the resolution a comfortable majority.

Only later did it become clear that Gul had miscalculated. With the measure on the floor of the parliament, one Turkish legislator said he felt the mood shift when the word went around that the Iraqi government had begun destroying its illegal missiles that day, as one of the United Nations' chief weapons inspectors had demanded.

The overwhelming reason that the measure failed, Turkish leaders said, was the demand of the Turkish people to stay out of the war.

"I hate romanticism in politics," said Mehmet Fehmi Uyanik, a legislator who voted against the measure. "I'm a realist. And every day, I'm not kidding, I got 60 or 70 messages from people telling me to vote against."

 A top U.S. military official said Monday that a possible war in Iraq would be successful even without a northern front in Turkey, Reuters reported.

"I don't think it's absolutely a showstopper in terms of whether you have a northern front or not," said General James Jones, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the Commander of the United States European Command.

"We're going to be successful regardless of what we're limited to," he said at a news conference at EUCOM headquarters in the southwestern German town of Stuttgart.