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 Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 04:27 GMT
Turkey and Jordan seek to avoid war
Abdullah Gul and King Abdullah
Both leaders are worried about the effect of a war
Jordan has become the latest Middle Eastern nation to join Turkey in calling for a concerted effort to avoid war in Iraq.

Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul is touring the region to coordinate support for a peaceful solution.

Turkish PM Abdullah Gul and President of the Arab League Amr Mussa
Gul: "Still a chance for a peaceful solution"
After Mr Gul met King Abdullah in the Jordanian capital, Amman, the two countries put out a joint statement warning that a war could lead to the break-up of Iraq and calling for maximum effort to avert it.

Both Turkey and Jordan share a border with Iraq, and according to Ankara would be the most affected by a war against Baghdad.

Mr Gul has already secured similar commitments from Syria and Egypt and is due later this month in Saudi Arabia.

A key ally of the United States and the only Muslim member of Nato, Turkey is under increasing pressure from Washington to show firm support for military action against Iraq.

Jordanian warning

Mr Gul was met at Marka airport in Amman by his Jordanian counterpart, Ali Abu Ragheb before going on to have talks with King Abdullah.

"Turkey and Jordan shall be the two countries, besides Iraq, most adversely affected in case of war against Iraq," a Turkish statement read.

"They have been the two countries which have exerted most efforts to prevent it.

"Bilateral consultations on shaping a concerted course of action to exhaust all the possibilities of averting war are considered very timely."

King Abdullah has repeatedly warned against a war against Iraq, and said Jordan will not be used as a launch pad for a strike on its neighbour.

Efforts continue

Speaking in Cairo on Sunday, Mr Gul said that there was "still a chance for a peaceful solution".

Anti-war demonstration in Ankara
There is strong opposition in Turkey to a war

The war would cost Turkey billions of dollars in lost trade.

Ankara is also worried about the possibility that a Kurdish state could be established in northern Iraq.

Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis has said that a US request to station American troops in Turkey has "few chances" of being approved by parliament because of strong public opposition.

Turkey's diplomatic efforts are continuing this week, with the visit of the leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the Turkic-speaking nations of the Caucasus and Central Asia.

His visit starts on Tuesday in Azerbaijan and includes talks in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  William Hale, Professor of Turkish Politics
"Turkey would like a democratic government to be established in Iraq"

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05 Jan 03 | Middle East
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