Turkey says no threat from neighbours over Patriot missile purchase

Turkey's foreign minister said that any purchase of Patriot missiles from the United States was part of a modernisation of the country's defence.

Turkey says no threat from neighbours over Patriot missile purchase

Turkey's foreign minister said on Thursday that any purchase of Patriot missiles from the United States was not due to a particular threat from neighbours but part of a modernisation of the country's defence.

The U.S. administration has notified Congress of a possible sale of Patriot PAC-3 antimissile batteries and related gear to Turkey, the only NATO member bordering Iran. Turkey has not publicly confirmed the deal.

"This was something that was planned earlier, it is not something new," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference.

"We don't assume any threat from our neighbouring countries. This is clear. This is much more about a comprehensive approach to security and not because of any particular threat."

Turkey has good relations with Iran. Turkey also shares land borders with Georgia, Bulgaria, Greece, Iraq and Syria.

This week Turkey has signed wide-ranging agreements with Damascus and Baghdad on security, political and economic cooperation.

Turkey and Syria agreed to abolish visas between each country.

A Foreign Ministry source, who declined to be named, said the price of the Patriot missiles would be much less than a previously quoted figure of $7.8 billion.

"The purchase of Patriot missiles is part of a sweeping modernisation programme of the Turkish Armed Forces," the source told Reuters.

The sale to Turkey would include 13 Patriot "fire units," 72 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles and a range of associated hardware for ground-based air defence, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice made public last week.

The US has halted the missile defence shield programme in Europe devised under former President George Bush, saying the threat from Iran's long-range missiles was not as serious as originally believed.


Reuters

Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2009, 12:33
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