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Powell: Use of bases in Turkey 'not yet a done deal'

Turkish officials claim 'broad agreement' on troop deployment

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Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul: "A result will be reached in the coming days."

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ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- Although Turkish officials said a "broad agreement" to allow U.S. troops on Turkish soil for a possible war against Iraq was reached Friday, Secretary of State Colin Powell cautioned that "It is not yet a done deal."

"I think we have made some progress," Powell told reporters as he flew to Asia, according to Reuters. "It is not yet a done deal, but there has been progress in the last 12 hours.

"Our teams will be working intensively over the next two to three days to resolve these issues. They are difficult, but they should be resolvable, and if they are resolved, then we believe the possibility exists for the Turkish government to take this to their parliament early next week," Reuters quoted him as saying.

A few details remain to be worked out, but the countries had reached a "broad agreement," Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said.

Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said a final agreement "will be reached in the coming days. ... They understand our worries; we understand theirs."

But even then, the deal will have to be approved the parliament, where it is likely to face a stiff challenge. It is expected to be unpopular in the overwhelmingly Muslim country.

Polls show most Turks oppose war with Iraq and don't want U.S. forces on Turkish soil.

The deal involves a complicated formula under which Turkey could get $6 billion in grants or up to $20 dollars in loans, an official with the prime minister's office said. Turkey also could choose some combination of grants and loans.

The funds would also be tied to Turkey's agreements with the International Monetary Fund. The nation has received funds through an IMF program designed to help bail out the Turkish economy. As part of the program, Turkey promised to enact economic reform measures. If it fails to follow through, it could lose not only IMF funding but also the funds it would be receiving from the United States as part of the military agreement.

The United States has said Turkish bases and military facilities could be critical as staging points for a "northern front" attack on Iraq. Analysts say a second invasion force into Iraq's north could shorten any war and lower the number of American causalities.

U.S. officials fought for NATO to send military hardware to help defend Turkey in case Iraq attacks it for supporting a U.S.-led attack.

Negotiations between the United States and Turkey snagged over economic issues and the role of Turkey's military.

If a final agreement fails to win parliamentary approval, the United States will find an alternative to using Turkey, U.S. officials have indicated. One option would be to fly U.S. troops into a Kurd-controlled air base in northern Iraq, and another would be to bring them overland from southern Iraq.

If the agreement is approved, C-130 aircraft will operate out of a Turkish Air Force base at Konya.

The first 250 U.S. troops bound for Turkey arrived Thursday at a Romanian air base near the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romanian officials said. U.S. ships with equipment for an infantry division are positioned off Turkey's coast.

Turkey says it suffered heavy financial losses after the 1991 Persian Gulf War and had insufficient say in its resolution -- especially regarding the situation in northern Iraq, a semi-autonomous region administered by Iraqi Kurds since the end of the war.

In Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, an impoverished region that borders Kurd-controlled Iraq, separatist conflict has killed 30,000 people since 1984. Turkey fears Kurds in the region could use the turmoil of war to try to set up an independent state.

NATO orders surveillance planes to Turkey

Meanwhile, NATO's top military commander in Europe has ordered AWACS surveillance planes to Turkey to watch for any potential attack from Iraq, the alliance announced Friday.

The planes will fly from their base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, to the Turkish air base in Konya within days and are scheduled to be defending Turkish air space by Thursday.

The order from Gen. James L. Jones, supreme allied commander in Europe, follows an agreement last weekend among NATO nations to end weeks of stalemate over whether to start military planning to boost Turkey's defenses against the threat of an Iraq air attack.

NATO is also sending Patriot anti-missile batteries to Turkey and is preparing to deploy anti-biochemical units.

-- CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, Istanbul bureau chief Jane Arraf and senior White House correspondent John King contributed to this report.



Reuters contributed to this report.

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