- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 26, 2003

TURKEY

Iraq troop decision likely in October

ANKARA — Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday the government has no plans to recall parliament early, signaling that a decision on sending Turkish troops to Iraq is unlikely before October.

Turkey, a member of NATO, has yet to decide on a U.S. request to contribute troops to its security force in war-torn Iraq, and any such decision needs to be approved by the parliament, which is in recess until Oct. 1.

Asked if lawmakers would be summoned for a special session in September, Mr. Erdogan told reporters: “No. Parliament will start work as scheduled.”

A parliamentary leader in his ruling Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish acronym, AKP) confirmed that the government would wait until October to decide on troop deployment.

EGYPT

35 held, 9 sought as militant Islamists

CAIRO — Authorities have accused 35 men of forming a militant Islamist group in Egypt, birthplace of political Islam, and are searching for nine others, security sources say.

The 35 men were arrested last week on suspicion of belonging to Al-Gamaa Islamiya (the Islamic Group), which waged an insurgency against the state in the 1990s. Investigators said the new organization is called the Jihad Group for the Support of Muslims at Home and Abroad. They said it seeks the overthrow of the government and establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic state.

Egypt, a U.S. regional ally, has arrested hundreds of people it accuses of Islamist militancy since the September 11 attacks on the United States.

MALAYSIA

Algerian party leader sends home peace call

KUALA LUMPUR — Abassi Madani, the leader of Algeria’s fundamentalist party Islamic Salvation Front, sent a message of peace and conciliation Monday to the Algerian people, his son said.

Mr. Madani, 72, who was released in July after 11 years of detention, is banned from politics in his homeland. His son, Iqbal Abassi Madani, who accompanied him here for medical treatment, told Agence France-Presse in a interview that his father wanted peace in his homeland.

Weekly notes …

Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb made a brief visit yesterday to Damascus, Syria, where he delivered a message from King Abdullah II to Syrian President Bashar Assad. It “deals with the situation in the region, particularly the Palestinian and Iraqi issues, as well as ways of coordinating our positions on what is happening,” Mr. Abu Ragheb told Petra news agency on his return to Amman. … Israel’s public broadcasters have directed their reporters to replace familiar Arabic references to the Palestinian “intifada” (uprising) that broke out nearly three years ago, and the “hudna” (truce) that collapsed last week, with Hebrew equivalents. Reporters also have been told to call the occupied West Bank by its biblical name, Judea and Samaria.

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