The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is meeting with Turkish leaders in Ankara to work out just what Turkish forces will be doing when they arrive in Lebanon. Yesterday the Turkish parliament gave the government permission to send up to 1000 troops to Lebanon to take part in peace keeping operations there as part of the UN force. MPs debated the issue for six hours. Despite opposition claims that it was a trap, they overwhelming approved the troop deployment. Turkey has come under pressure from both the European Union and the United States to send troops there to help make up numbers and also because it’s one of the rare countries with a mainly Muslim population to have very good relations with Israel.
The first Turkish soldiers could arrive in Lebanon next week, their mission is to provide humanitarian support on the ground and Ankara has stressed it’s not their job to disarm Hizbollah fighters.