German cabinet approves Patriot missiles for Turkey

BERLIN Thu Dec 6, 2012 1:51pm IST

Related Topics

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's cabinet agreed on Thursday to send Patriot missiles and up to 400 soldiers to Turkey to act as a deterrent against any spread of the conflict in Syria across the border, Berlin's foreign and defence ministries said.

Turkey, a NATO member hostile to Assad which has taken in thousands of refugees, says it needs the air defence batteries to shoot down any missiles that might be fired across its border.

NATO approved its request for the missiles on Tuesday. The Netherlands and the United States also plan to provide Patriot batteries. Deployment is expected to take several weeks.

Germany's parliament will vote on the mandate between December 12 and 14, said the ministries.

"The strengthening of the integrated NATO air defence in Turkey is a purely defensive measure which, as a military deterrent, will prevent the conflict within Syria spreading to Turkey," said the ministries.

"The deployment does not represent the establishment of or monitoring of a no-fly-zone over Syrian territory or any other offensive step," they added.

The Patriot deployment will come under the command of SACEUR Allied Troops in Europe, which can also order the use of Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), said the ministries.

Turkey has repeatedly scrambled jets along the countries' frontier and has responded in kind when shells from the Syrian conflict came down inside its borders, fuelling fears the civil war could spread.

However, Syria and its allies Russia and Iran have criticised the decision on the missiles, saying it increases regional instability.

Approval from Germany's Bundestag lower house is not expected to be a problem although some opposition lawmakers, mainly Greens, are against the deployment due to fears of getting caught up in a wider regional conflict.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said he expects a broad parliamentary majority in the vote.

The foreign ministry said the suggested mandate would last until the end of January, 2014. (Reporting by Madeline Chambers, Alexandra Hudson and Hans-Edzard Busemann; editing by Patrick Graham)

FILED UNDER:

World Wrap

Reuters Showcase

Indian Healthcare

Indian Healthcare

Exclusive - Payment delays dent India's flagship health, AIDS programmes  Full Article 

India-Pakistan Ties

India-Pakistan Ties

Indian, Pakistani foreign secretaries to meet in Islamabad.  Full Article 

Food Security

Food Security

India will not cut multi-billion dollar food handout programme - PM   Full Article 

Jaitley Speaks

Jaitley Speaks

India needs sustained GDP growth of 9-10 percent - Jaitley.  Full Article 

Obama Interview

Obama Interview

Exclusive - Nemtsov killing sign of worsening climate in Russia: Obama.  Full Article 

Environment Concerns

Environment Concerns

Deforestation could shift monsoons, leaving India high and dry.  Full Article 

Forbes Rich List

Forbes Rich List

Bill Gates tops Forbes rich list, Michael Jordan joins.  Full Article 

New Tour

New Tour

Pop icon Madonna announces dates for 'Rebel Heart' tour.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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