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Turkey-U.S. deal to go to vote

U.S. soldiers stand next to vehicles in the Turkish port of Iskenderun on Monday as equipment is offloaded.
U.S. soldiers stand next to vehicles in the Turkish port of Iskenderun on Monday as equipment is offloaded.

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ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- The Turkish Cabinet sent parliament a proposal Tuesday asking that Turkey allow 62,000 American troops to use the country as a base in a U.S.-led war with Iraq, several members of parliament said.

Under the agreement, the troops could use Turkey's ports and air bases for at least six months, the lawmakers told CNN.

The United States would base 265 fighter planes and 65 helicopters in Turkey, and provide $6 billion in aid to Ankara, with the opportunity for $1 billion in grants to be parlayed into $10 billion in loans, Turkish officials said.

Parliament is voting only on the troop request.

Other details of the agreement were not immediately available.

U.S. and Turkish officials said certain details remained to be worked out. It was not clear whether those would also be sent to the parliament.

Some lawmakers said they needed more information before they could vote on the troop request.

Parliament may vote on the legislation Wednesday or Thursday, although the ruling Justice and Development Party was trying to delay it in hopes of building up support for its passage.

Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan was leading the effort. The Justice and Development Party has 363 seats in the 550-seat parliament, but 60 party members have said they will abstain from voting.

Surveys show 90 percent of Turks are against a war with Iraq, according to CNN's Jane Arraf.

U.S. ships are waiting off the coast of Turkey to unload supplies for the 4th Infantry Division, which would lead an armored attack from Turkey into northern Iraq if there is a war.

U.S. envoys, who met through the night with Turkish officials, have been convening with Turkish officials around the clock for days trying to finalize the deal.

In addition to economic concerns, Turkey has sought assurances that Iraqi Kurds will not get more political or military power during and after any war. Ankara fears separatist ambitions by Iraqi Kurds in northern Iraq could spread to its own Kurdish minority concentrated around the border with that country.

Tensions between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds who have controlled northern Iraq since the Gulf War have risen lately as the Kurds publicly complained about Turkey's plans to send tens of thousands of troops into northern Iraq.

Turkey says its troops would not fight, but would help contain any refugee crisis and prevent fighting from spilling over into Turkey.

-- CNN Correspondent Jane Arraf contributed to this report


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