NATO to Send Patriot Missiles to Turkey

Turkish troops patrol near the nation's border with Syria in October. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday said NATO would send Patriot air-defense missiles to the border region, where Syrian shells have repeatedly fallen in recent weeks (AP Photo).
Turkish troops patrol near the nation's border with Syria in October. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday said NATO would send Patriot air-defense missiles to the border region, where Syrian shells have repeatedly fallen in recent weeks (AP Photo).

Undisclosed NATO countries intend to deploy sophisticated Patriot air-defense missiles along the Turkish border with Syria, Ankara announced on Tuesday.

"The countries who supply NATO with Patriot systems are known, we have reached an agreement with those countries," Reuters quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as saying to journalists. "The official application will be completed as soon as possible."

Syria's civil war has crossed into Turkey in the form of refugees and, in recent weeks, casualties from shells fired by Assad government military forces. Ankara has fired back, but wants to protect its territory from further possible shelling and the threat of Syrian munitions that might carry chemical warfare materials.

Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States are the only NATO states that posses the sought-after Patriot missiles. It is not yet clear which country or countries would send units to Turkey.

"Intensive work is under way and the talks have reached their final stage," Davutoglu said.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday said any such deployments would be aimed at protecting Turkish territory from shelling and not to support the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria. 

Davutoglu said official talks on the Patriot missile deployment "will be concluded at the shortest time possible. They won't last much longer," the Associated Press reported.

November 20, 2012
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Undisclosed NATO countries intend to deploy sophisticated Patriot air-defense missiles along the Turkish border with Syria, Ankara announced on Tuesday.