Turkey expected to request Syria border missiles Monday

BRUSSELS Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:50pm IST

Turkish troops take position as gunfire is heard near the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain at the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 19, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Turkish troops take position as gunfire is heard near the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain at the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Related Topics

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Turkey is expected to formally request on Monday that NATO missiles be placed on its border with Syria to defend against mortar rounds, Western defence officials said.

Only the United States, the Netherlands and Germany have the appropriate Patriot missile system available, and Germany would analyse such a request "with solidarity", German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

"I expect that there will be a request from the Turkish government today to NATO to deploy Patriot missiles to the Turkish border," de Maiziere told reporters in Brussels, on the sidelines of a meeting of EU defence ministers.

NATO has not yet received a request but will consider it "as a matter of urgency", Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters as he arrived at the meeting.

"Turkey can count on allied solidarity," he said, while emphasising that the missiles would only be to counter mortar rounds, not to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria.

"We are not speaking about a no-fly zone. If we are to deploy patriot missiles it would be a purely defensive measure to defend and protect Turkey."

The alliance has deployed Patriot surface-to-air missiles to Turkey twice before, once in 1991 and later in 2003, during both Gulf Wars. Those missiles were provided by the Netherlands.

De Maiziere said the German response would depend on the details of any request. "But if we have a deployment of Patriots on the Turkish border then this will happen with German soldiers."

Turkey is talking to NATO allies about how to shore up security on its 900-km (560-mile) frontier with Syria after mortar rounds fired from Syria landed inside its territory, increasing concerns about spillover from the civil war from its neighbour.

The Dutch defence minister said the Netherlands too was waiting for a Turkish request. "We did not receive a formal request yet," Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told reporters in Brussels. "We are waiting for a formal request."

(Reporting by Adrian Croft, Angelika Stricker and Robert-Jan Bartunek; Writing by Sebastian Moffett; Editing by Jon Hemming)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Canada Shooting

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Fukushima Probe

Fukushima Probe

Japan prosecutors set to rule on possible Fukushima indictments.  Full Article 

Fighting Islamic State

Fighting Islamic State

U.S.-led air strikes killed 553 fighters, 32 civilians in Syria - monitor.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Official WHO Ebola toll near 5,000 with true number nearer 15,000.  Full Article 

Total CEO Death

Total CEO Death

Russian prosecutors detain four more suspects in Total CEO plane crash.  Full Article | Related Story 

Abducted Girls

Abducted Girls

Nigeria talks with Boko Haram but no sign of girls' release.  Full Article 

Bodies In Locker

Bodies In Locker

Woman charged after 6 infant bodies found in Canadian locker.  Full Article 

Tunisia Polls

Tunisia Polls

Tunisia election tests transition from autocracy to democracy.  Full Article 

Pope's Agenda

Pope's Agenda

Pope Francis plays long game to reform Catholic Church.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage