Koc expressed that although the main area of interest for Turkey is northern Iraq, the U.S. wanted the soldiers to be sent to southern Iraq. He continued, "We warn the government. If after a time, the dead bodies of our soldiers will return to Turkey, the Prime Minister and the deputies of AK Party who will vote for the motion will be responsible for this."
The issue of sending troops to Iraq has been on the agenda especially after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s declaration that the U.S. wanted a quick decision from Turkey to send troops to Iraq, meaning the dispatch of troops should start in a few months time. Though no official declaration has been made, the top officials of the state, according to the news from the press, seemed to negotiate on sending troops to Iraq in a summit at the Presidential Palace last week.
Protests for sending troops to Iraq
Several civil society organisations’ and political parties’ members forming the "Ankara Platform Against War" protested sending troops to Iraq.
The members of the platform gathered in front of the Human Rights Monument on Yuksel Street and then walked to the Freedom Monument on Sakarya Street. They displayed posters saying "We won’t be U.S. soldiers" and "Don’t go to Iraq, don’t kill your brother".
Human Rights Association (IHD) Ankara Director Ender Buyukculha stated that it was thought provoking that although the total number of soldiers to go to Iraq from 22 different countries is 14,000 while the number demanded from Turkey was 12,000.