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Turkey asks NATO for 18-20 Patriot missiles, NATO offers 8- 10

English.news.cn   2012-11-28 23:35:57            

ANKARA, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Turkey has asked NATO to deploy 18 to 20 Patriot missiles along its border with Syria, but the Alliance only offered about eight to 10 missiles, NTV news channel reported Wednesday.

On Wednesday, a NATO team surveyed sites in Turkey's eastern Anatolian province of Malatya for the possible deployment of Patriot missiles.

The NATO delegation arrived at Tulga 1 Barracks in Malatya on Wednesday morning, and will head to Altay Barracks and 7th Main Jet Base Command in Malatya to continue their surveying, according to semi-official Anatolia news agency.

Malatya is already hosting an early warning radar which is part of NATO missile defense system capable of countering ballistic missile threats from Iran.

The joint Turkish-NATO team will survey the provinces of Adana, Hatay, Gaziantep and Sanliurfa to decide where to deploy the Patriot missiles.

NATO countries that have advanced PAC-3 model Patriot missiles, namely Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, will decide if they will offer their missiles to Turkey.

Although Turkey said any deployment of Patriot missiles by NATO would be of defensive purposes only, Russia, Iran and Syria have already expressed opposition to the move.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned last week that such a deployment could spark a "very serious armed conflict" involving NATO.

Russia's criticisms continued on Tuesday as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said that deployment of Patriot missile systems at the Turkish-Syrian border would create more problems rather than solve any.

The deployment of Patriot systems along the Turkish border with Syria might stem from plans to establish the so-called no-fly zones, Russian diplomat said, referring to Turkish army's statement on Monday that the deployment was not for a "no-fly zone or offensive operations," but for dealing with "air or missile threat from Syria."

"The installation of such systems in the region has negative effects and will intensify problems in the region," Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said ahead of his visit to Turkey last week.

Elaborating on Russian and Iranian warnings, "everybody is aware that the Patriot systems are against Iran," Semih Idiz, a columnist to Hurriyet Daily News, told NTV on Tuesday.

Turkey stepped up the deployment of NATO Patriot missiles after Syria reportedly shot down a Turkish warplane in Mediterranean sea in June, killing two crew members. Clashes between Syrian government and southern protestors have spilled over to Turkey, leaving five Turkish nationals killed by a Syrian shelling in southern Akcakale town in Sanliurfa province of Turkey.

After the Turkish military jet was shot down, Turkey announced it has military rules of engagement with Syria. In October, Turkish government get authorization from the parliament for possible cross-border military incursions into Syria.

Turkey, a NATO member, appealed to the Alliance for the protection of its border from any threats derived from Syria, not only mortar shelling, but also chemical weapons which may fall into the hands of various groups such as al-Qaida, a Turkish official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to- surface missiles in its arsenal capable of carrying chemical warheads.

Turkey, once an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but now a leading voice calling on him to step down, has accommodated nearly 130,000 Syrian refugees.

Editor: yan
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