Spain aims to ensure Turkey's security with patriots

Defense Minister Pedro Morenes says Spanish air defense missiles will protect NATO-ally Turkey

Spain aims to ensure Turkey's security with patriots

Spain's provision of Patriot air defense missiles to Turkey will ensure its security and stability as a NATO ally, Spanish Defense Minister has said

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on Friday in Madrid, Pedro Morenes said Turkey was exposed to "terrorist" attacks because of its borders with conflict-ridden countries.

He said: "Spain’s support to Turkey is very normal as we see Turkey as a friendly, allied country.

"We will also support a safety corridor which it wants to establish with other NATO allies - in this region."

Spain decided in September to send Patriot air defense missiles to Turkey as part of its NATO obligations to replace units from the Netherlands which were being withdrawn, and naval ships carrying the missiles arrived at the port of Iskenderun Limak in Turkey's southern province of Hatay on Jan. 9.

Morenes said he plans to visit Turkey in late January and the missile defense system is expected to be activated on the 26th of the month.

He said: "I believe that the relationship between Turkey and Spain is very important, because of the two countries' locations in the Mediterranean area.

"Our relationship is very important for the continuity of stability in the Mediterranean."

Referring to last week's gun massacre at the Paris headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Morenes said: "The latest incident is such a terrorist act, and it should not be seen as being related to Islamophobia.

"It is possible that terrorism has very different roots - and Spain and Turkey know that very well."

He went on: "The Paris attack is not something new - a different kind of violence was used in the latest attack - and special precautions should be taken”.

"Our priority is to ensure the safety of our citizens as state and government. The Spanish government does not recognize the Paris attack as a kind of religious issue."

'Possible struggles'

Moreness added: "The security measures will be taken only against terrorism. The possible struggles will face are just against terrorism and these are not related to Islam or Muslims."

Spain’s parliament unanimously passed a resolution last year urging the government to recognize Palestine as a state.

The defense minister pointed out the motion was carried out on the basis of consensus.

On Syria, Morenes said: "Syria's future can only be decided by the Syrian people" and added that, if a decision was taken by the United Nations in relation to Syria, Spain would take it into consideration.

More than 190,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict between the Assad regime and opposition forces began in early 2011, according to UN figures published in August 2014.

Referring to the controversial vote for the independence of Catalonia, which was held in last year, the minister said: "Catalonia does not respect the rule of law, but Spain is a democratic state governed by the rule of law.

"Democracy can only exist as long as the rule of law continues."

More than two million Catalans took part in the symbolic vote for the region's independence on Nov. 9, 2014 which Spain's authorities later claimed was a "complete failure" and vowed to sue Catalonia for going against a decision made by the Spanish Constitutional Court against the poll.

Catalan President Artur Mas said at the time: "We were able to use our votes, despite the intimidation of the Spanish state and despite their big obstacles."

But Morenes said: "Voting is not everything. Democracy and voting are not the same things."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Ocak 2015, 14:08