News / Middle East

NATO to Decide on Turkey Missile Defense

Turkish soldiers take up position near the border with Syria, in the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 26, 2012.
Turkish soldiers take up position near the border with Syria, in the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 26, 2012.
Dorian Jones
NATO is expected to make a decision Tuesday on Turkey's request for the deployment of missile defense batteries along its border with Syria. The decision is seen by Ankara as having both military and diplomatic significance. But such a deployment is strongly opposed by Russia and Iran.

NATO member Turkey has formally asked the alliance to deploy its sophisticated anti-missile Patriot defense system along the Turkish-Syrian border. Diplomatic columnist Semih Idiz for Hurriyet Daily News said the request is the result of growing concern in Ankara that an increasingly desperate Syrian government could target Turkey for its support of Syrian rebel forces.

"I think it's worried that the situation in Syria will get out of hand, and that [Syria's President] Assad may in fact, whether the warhead contains chemical weapons or not, decide to use ballistic missiles," said Idiz. "The request did come from the military wing, it (was) as much a military decision as it was a political decision."

But Ankara’s request for NATO assistance has sent alarm bells ringing among regional powers, namely Iran and Russia. Both Tehran and Moscow strongly criticized the move, accusing Ankara of being provocative.

Some analysts have suggested any deployment of the anti-missile system could be the first step to creating a no-fly zone against the Syrian air force, something Ankara has been calling for. But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said any deployment would be purely defensive.

He said no one should try to get a different meaning from the precautions Turkey takes on its border. He said Turkey is obligated to take these measures for defensive purposes only.

A Patriot missile battery, August 12, 2004.A Patriot missile battery, August 12, 2004.
x
A Patriot missile battery, August 12, 2004.
A Patriot missile battery, August 12, 2004.
It remains unclear how many Patriot missile batteries NATO would deploy if it approves Ankara’s request.

With a 900-kilometer-long border, the missiles would offer only minimal protection to any sustained attack by Damascus, said Meehan Demir, defense expert and Ankara bureau chief for Star news TV channel.  But Demir said any deployment would still be important.

"These missiles are just symbolic," said Demir. "These missiles are just for a kind of message to Syria, that Turkey is here and it's not alone, it is with its NATO allies."

The repercussions of such a deployment by NATO could be considerable, according to Mustafa Kibraoglu, head of the International Relations Department at Istanbul’s Okan University. He said any decision by NATO to deploy the Patriot system would mark a major change in strategic policy by the military alliance and could have consequences beyond Syria.

"With respect to the Middle East, the European allies have always been reluctant so far in terms of showing or displaying solidarity with Turkey," he said.

"But now for the first time, its European allies are not that reluctant, and seemingly even enthusiastic, at least at the governmental level. Behind the enthusiasm might not only be the conflict in Syria, the turmoil in Syria," Kibraoglu added. "Because thinking about some contingencies, that may involve Israel and Iran. Because of Iran's nuclear program and Israel's threats to Iranian nuclear facilities."

Kibraoglu suggested any deployment of NATO missiles in Turkey could last years.  

It would not be the first time NATO has sent Patriot missiles to Turkey. During the first Gulf War, batteries were placed along the Iraqi frontier. But observers said if NATO does agree to Ankara’s latest request, the deployment could herald a significant change in the alliance's strategy towards the region.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 27, 2012 3:39 AM
Russia and Iran have no say in the matter. These defensive measures should be in place. Russia and Iran have been providing troops, bullets and bombs to kill 40,000 people. They deserve their faces slapped.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid