U.S., Turkey in N. Iraq talks
ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- U.S. and Turkish officials are discussing the possibility of setting up a "coordination" center near the Iraqi border, a Turkish official told CNN Monday.
The center would help address U.S. concerns about Turkish troop deployments in northern Iraq, said Ali Tuygan, Turkish deputy undersecretary to the foreign minister.
U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Tuygan and other Turkish foreign ministry officials on Monday.
Tuygan said they discussed setting up a possible "coordination cell" that would include "Turks and Americans and locals on the ground in the field -- a temporary body in the northern region."
The center would be concerned with overseeing "any concerns respective of the area." Tuygan said it might be located in the Turkish city of Silopi.
The United States is concerned that a buildup of Turkish troops in northern Iraq could spark a conflict with Kurdish groups that control much of the area.
U.S. officials "have made it very clear" they want Turkish troops to stay out of northern Iraq, U.S. President George W. Bush said Sunday.
Turks are worried that Kurds in the autonomous region of Iraq might push for independence and enflame similar passions among Kurds in Turkey. Some Kurdish groups are blamed for terrorist attacks against Turkey.
While admitting "there are sensitivities" between the two countries, Tuygan insisted there had been a "light presence" of Turkish troops in northern Iraq for years.
"Turkey's military presence in Iraq is not a military intervention, not an invasion," he said. "Whatever we do, we are in full cooperation with the United States."
Tuygan said some concerns linger from the first Gulf War.
"In light of how things unfolded in 1991, we woke up to find 500,000 displaced refugees on our border. Hardly any assistance and support came to us," he said.
"We do not wish a second refugee crisis or the threat of terrorist activities."
Further complicating the situation, two undetonated U.S. missiles hit areas near the villages of Birecik and Viransehir in southern Turkey on Sunday. No injuries were reported. (Full Story)
Witnesses said one missile, which landed nearly 430 miles northwest of the Iraqi border, left a crater four meters wide and one meter deep.
The apparent mistake came as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan appeared on national television to tell his countrymen that Turkey had granted the United States permission to use Turkish airspace to attack Iraq.
"We opened the airspace for Americans because we want to have a good relationship with our allies, and this is for our own security," he said.
He added that a buildup of Turkish troops along Turkey's border with Iraq is being carried out to ensure the country is not flooded with Kurdish refugees from northern Iraq.
"For the well-being of our country, we have to take precautions," he said.
-- CNN Correspondent Fredricka Whitfield and Producers Talia Kayali and Anthony Kouardaoughli contributed to this report