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SLUG: 2-288338 Afghan / Turkey (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=04/04/02

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=AFGHAN / TURKEY (L-O)

NUMBER=2-288338

BYLINE=AMBERIN ZAMAN

DATELINE=GENEVA

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Afghan interim leader, Hamid Karzai arrived in Ankara Thursday on a

two day official visit. As Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara talks between

the Afghan leader and his Turkish hosts focused on Turkey's decision last

week to take command of the international peace keeping force in Afghanistan.

TEXT: Following talks with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, Afghan

interim leader Hamid Karzai stressed his government's satisfaction over

Turkey's decision to take command of the international peace keeping force

from Britain in the coming weeks.

Turkish officials say the handover will likely be completed in June.

Some one-thousand Turkish troops are to be deployed in Kabul in addition to the 260 Turkish troops already in place.

Turkey's military presence has been encouraged by the Bush administration

which sees Turkey as a key ally in its ongoing campaign against global

terrorism.

Speaking at a joint news conference both leaders recalled that ties between

Turkey and Afghanistan went as far back as the early 20th century. Turkish

troops helped form and train the Afghan army at that time. Mr. Karzai noted today, Turkish troops were doing the same once again.

Mr. Ecevit said his government considered it what he termed a duty to help

the Afghan nation to rebuild its shattered economy and infrastructure. He

said steps had already been taken for Turkey to

help build schools and hospitals in Afghanistan as well as to train

personnel in diplomacy, health and education.

The two leaders also said they had discussed cooperation to combat

illegal drug trafficking in Afghanistan. Mr. Ecevit said Turkey had extensive

experience in this regard. Turkey is among the main transit routes for

Afghan produced heroin sold in European markets. Turkish police have in

recent months seized large quantities of heroin in a series of operations

jointly conducted with U-S drug enforcement agents.

During his stay, Mr. Karzai is also expected to meet with Turkish president,

Ahmet Necdet Sezer. (signed)

NEB/AZ/RH



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