The United States does not intend to pull outheavy equipment and weapons from Iraq through Turkish territory, thoughthe U.S. military has been seeking Turkish permission for thetransportation of some noncombat equipment, Chairman of the U.S. JointChiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said Saturday.
Though we certainly rely on Turkey's infrastructure to move someequipment in and out of our area of operations, we do not transportweapons through Turkey, nor do we intend to in the future, Mullen saidin the Turkish capital of Ankara.
Mullen, who made a brief visit to Ankara to meet Turkey's newChief of General Staff Gen. Isik Kosaner, said the United States hasmoved 38,000 pieces of rolling stock and over two million other piecesof equipment out of Iraq safely. He added "certainly none of themilitary equipment, and none of the people have come through Turkey."
Meanwhile, Mullen said the current agreement between the UnitedStates and Iraq was to withdraw all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the endof 2011.
"We have withdrawn almost 100,000 troops under the currentagreement, we would do the same over the next 15 or 16 months. Nodecisions have been made in terms of how to do that," he noted.
On Friday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesmanSelcuk Unal had said the Turkish government, in principle, lookedfavorably on the passage of U.S. weaponless equipment and technicalmaterials.