Dutch Govt. Approves Deploying Patriots to Turkey

The Dutch government on Friday approved deploying Patriot systems to Turkey, in accordance with a NATO decision earlier this week to support its member's request for air-defense assistance against feared Syrian ballistic missile strikes, Agence France-Presse reported.

"The Cabinet has decided shortly to send two Dutch Patriot batteries to contribute to the protection of our NATO ally Turkey," the Dutch government said in a statement.

The Netherlands said it had approved a one-year deployment period for the Patriot missiles and no more than 360 accompanying military personnel. The Patriots are to reach Turkey in slightly more than a month, according to Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis.

"The aim of the Patriot deployment is not to enforce a no-fly zone or to carry out attacks," Prime Minister Mark Rutte said to reporters following the Cabinet decision.

On Thursday, the German Cabinet authorized deploying two of that nation's Patriot batteries to Turkey for no more than a year. The United States is also expected to approve fielding Patriot systems to Turkey. The specific placement of the antimissile systems along Turkey's border with Syria has yet to be determined.

Turkish diplomatic insiders interviewed by the Hurriyet Daily News said it was difficult to know exactly when the Patriot missiles would arrive in their nation, but that it could happen within a month if efforts proceed on schedule, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"These are large systems. They will be brought to Turkey via ships and they will be uploaded to ships in a few weeks. I cannot give you a specific date about the deployment of Patriots, but it will be shorter than most people's expectation," NATO allied land commander Gen. Frederick Ben Hodges reportedly said.

Diplomatic sources interviewed by the Wall Street Journal said Washington is expected to approve deploying two Patriot units, which would bring the total number of NATO batteries in Turkey to six.

In earlier talks with Berlin, Ankara asked for assistance in protecting all cities inside the 50-mile range from the long boundary line with Syria. Such protection suggests deployment of up to 15 Patriot batteries would be required, according to the Journal.

U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder on Thursday said the aim of the Patriot deployments "first and most important was to reassure the Turks that in case of threats to their security ... we have their back."

The final quantity of Patriot systems "is a matter that's being talked about between Turkey's armed forces and NATO," an unidentified Turkish Foreign Ministry official told the newspaper. "It will be decided between them. Talks on this matter are ongoing."

December 7, 2012
About

The Dutch government on Friday approved deploying Patriot systems to Turkey, in accordance with a NATO decision earlier this week to support its member's request for air-defense assistance against feared Syrian ballistic missile strikes, Agence France-Presse reported.