US Congress Votes for $1 Billion Aid to Turkey

WASHINGTON (Reuters)–At the White House’s urging–the House of Representatives on Thursday soundly rejected a bid to strip aid to Turkey from a nearly $80 billion bill to fund the war in Iraq.

The House by a wide margin backed the $1 billion in aid–despite argumen’s from some lawmakers that Ankara should be punished for refusing let the United States invade Iraq from Turkish soil–denying it a northern front in the war.

Showing concern over shaky relations with Ankara–White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice made a personal appeal to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young–a Florida Republican–to fight to preserve the aid in the spending bill he was shepherding through the House.

But critics of the aid said Ankara did not deserve a piece of the wartime spending bill because its refusal to grant facilities to US troops put them at higher risk.

The $1 billion–which Turkey could use to leverage up to $8.5 billion in loans and loan guarantees–was considered crucial to shoring up its shaky economy that has been further hit by the war in Iraq.

The Senate also voted yesterday in support of the $1 billion to Turkey.

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