World Bulletin / News Desk
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has underlined continued need for Patriot deployments in Turkey despite full transportation of Syria’s chemical weapons from the country.
“Let me stress that deployment of Patriots is not solely connected to the existence of chemical weapons in Syria,” Rasmussen told a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.
“The deployment of Patriots aim at protecting the Turkish population and the Turkish society against any potential missile attack from Syria,” he said.
“So it can be separated from the issue of chemical weapons. It is a protection against any kind of missile attack, irrespective of the existence of non-existence of chemical weapons.”
German weekly Der Spiegel reported last month that NATO allies had started preliminary consultations on concluding the Patriot missile mission in Turkey by the end of 2014.
NATO allies Germany and the Netherlands believe that after the full transportation of Syria’s chemical weapons, materials and equipment from the country, the continuation of Patriot deployment would be unnecessary, the weekly said.
In response to Turkey’s request for NATO assistance in 2012, the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands each sent two Patriot batteries to bolster Turkey’s air defenses against possible threats from Syria. The move has largely been interpreted as a display of deterrence.
German parliament decided in late January to extend deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey until January 31, 2015, with the possibility of further extension.
The Patriot batteries provided by Germany have been stationed in Kahramanmaras since January 2013 and they have been operating under the command and control of NATO.
The mission involves up to 400 troops from the German military. The costs of the deployment which is estimated to be around 25 million euros per year are covered by Germany.Last Mod: 03 Temmuz 2014, 09:25