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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 12 March, 2003, 11:17 GMT
Clashes at Turkey anti-US demo
Turkish police confronting protesters in Iskenderun
The port of Iskenderun is a focus of anti-US protests

Turkish police have fired warning shots during a protest by anti-American demonstrators who were trying to enter the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun.

Turkish television showed police firing in the air and wielding truncheons as they fought a crowd of about 300 members of the Turkish Communist Party.

American ships are waiting at Iskenderun to unload equipment - believed to include tanks - for use in a possible war against Iraq.

The United States is still waiting for permission from the Turkish parliament to deploy more than 60,000 troops in the country.

But there is widespread public opposition within Turkey to a war with Iraq.

Demonstrators in Iskenderun chanted "Yankee go home!" and "Down with US imperialism!". They waved banners reading "No to war!"

Reuters news agency says the security forces fired five or six short bursts of gunfire into the air and the crowd later dispersed.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Istanbul says that much attention in Turkey has been focused on Iskenderun, the country's closest port to Iraq.

The US embassy has said the US army is helping modernise Turkish ports and airports - a step authorised by the Turkish parliament.

But some Turkish MPs have demanded a parliamentary investigation, suspecting that equipment now being unloaded at Turkish ports will be used in combat.

Just before the clashes on Wednesday 48 US jeeps and lorries carrying containers left the Iskenderun base in two convoys.

The US has made a financial aid package for Turkey conditional on support for the US military.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond
"Shots were fired into the air to warn the crowd"

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