Annual Patriot bill for Turkey totals 15 million liras
Patriot surface-to-air missile systems photographed during a visit of Dutch defense minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert , unseen, and German defense minister Thomas de Maiziere, unseen, in Kahramanmaras, Turkey Saturday Feb. 23, 2013. AP Photo,Axel Schmidt,PoolThe annual cost of Patriot missiles systems for Turkey is anticipated to be 15 million Turkish Liras, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz said late Feb. 23.
Yılmaz’s remarks were delivered in Sivas after he, along with his German and Dutch counterparts, visited the Patriot missile systems deployed from both countries in Adana and Kahramanmaraş near the Turkish-Syrian border earlier in the same day. Referring to their visits to Adana and Kahramanmaraş, Yılmaz said they were asked there why Turkey demanded the missile systems.
“They asked us ‘What is the annual cost of this [system] for you?’ Of course, these Patriots have been deployed within the general principles of NATO. We said, ‘We reckon that its cost for us in a year will be 15 million liras,’” Yılmaz was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency.
“They asked the same question to the Dutch minister. Dutch minister said ‘For us, the cost will be 40 million euros in a year.’ The German minister said like this and he did the right thing; he used the expression, ‘There is no price for security,’” Yılmaz said, while also underlining the Syrian government was unpredictable as an administration which has lost its prudence to the extent of bombing its own people.
“The best response is saying ‘Even one life is much more important than all of the expenditures,’” he said.
Recalling that Syrian shelling in early October killed five civilians in the Turkish border village of Akcakale, he said: “Hence, in response to the possibility of a missile hit, even if this possibility is one in a million, we took such a precaution. Responsible administrations would do the same by taking even the smallest possibility into consideration. That’s what we have done.”
Three NATO allies – the United States, Germany and the Netherlands – each committed to sending two batteries and up to 400 soldiers to operate them after Ankara asked for help to bolster its air defenses against a possible missile attack from Syria. All six batteries are operational at the moment.
NATO approved the deployment later in December, saying the use of ballistic missiles by the Syrian government posed a threat to Turkey and insisting that the move to deploy Patriots was purely defensive.