Turkish assembly backs joining NATO naval operation

ANKARA Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:09pm EDT

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ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's parliament Thursday approved a government decision to join a NATO naval operation to enforce a U.N.-sanctioned arms embargo off Libya, Turkish television news channels reported.

Turkey, a Muslim member of the Western alliance, has agreed to send four frigates, a submarine and a support vessel for the naval operation. The United States wants to hand over command of the air campaign to NATO within days, but Turkey's insistence on conditions has held up any agreement on this.

Turkey wants NATO to have sole control of military operations and does not want to see the alliance conducting offensive operations that could harm civilians or to be in charge of enforcing a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone while a smaller coalition's planes are bombing Libyan forces.

(Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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