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Turkey requests NATO defense missile system

Turkey requested from NATO the Patriot defense missile shield to defend against Syria.

Patriot missile batteries 11 20 2012 0Enlarge
An Israli soldier walks nearby two patriot missile batteries, deployed on a field close to Atlit, on the outskirts of Haifa, on Oct. 22, 2012. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Border clashes between Turkey and the beleaguered Syrian regime led the Turkish government to request the Patriot missile defense shield from NATO on Monday.

Foreign Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu said during a press conference, "The countries who supply NATO with Patriot systems are known, we have reached an agreement with those countries. The official application will be completed as soon as possible."

He added, “The formal negotiations will be concluded at the shortest time possible. They won’t last much longer.”

Only Germany, the United States and Holland have the missile system.

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said if the request was granted he expected German soldiers to control the missiles.

"But if we have a deployment of Patriots on the Turkish border then this will happen with German soldiers," he told reporters in Brussels.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen assured reporters, according to Reuters, that the Patriot missile system would not be used to establish a no-fly zone. He stressed that the missiles would strictly be employed for defensive measures.

It's feared the Syrian civil war could draw neighboring countries into the fray, escalating the violence and possibly resulting in a regional conflict. Both Turkey and Syria have publically stated they have no interest in fighting each other.

After Syrian shells hit Turkey in early October, Ibrahim Kalin, foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, tweeted this

"Turkey has no interest in a war with Syria. But Turkey is capable of protecting its borders and will retaliate when necessary." 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/121120/turkey-requests-nato-defense-missile-system