NATO in consultation, no replacement of German Patriots in Turkey yet
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
REUTERS photoNo decision has yet been taken on replacing German Patriot anti-missile systems and NATO is continuing consultations on the issue after Germany decided to pull out its Patriot batteries in Turkey, a Turkish diplomat has told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Spain, the third country participating in the NATO mission in Turkey, has not notified of any decision to withdraw its Patriot systems in the southern Turkish province of Adana, the diplomat also said.
The United States announced on Aug. 16 that it had informed the Turkish government that the U.S. deployment of Patriot air and missile defense units in Turkey, which expires in October, will not be renewed.
“The U.S. will maintain in-theater capability to rapidly transport and support emergent Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) requirements, and is prepared to sustain the current deployment site in a cold-basing status to facilitate future deployments of U.S. Patriots. If needed, the United States is prepared to return Patriot assets and personnel to Turkey within one week,” Washington stated.
The announcement came one day after Germany also said it would pull its Patriot missile batteries from southern Turkey.
Pentagon officials sought to withdraw the units, give their troops more rest at home and focus on higher-priority threats from Iran and North Korea, the New York Times reported on Aug. 16. Turkish officials were livid when told two weeks ago that the U.S. was withdrawing the Patriots, the daily reported, quoting American officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Netherlands, one of the three countries that deployed Patriot missiles in southern Turkish provinces in 2013 as part of a NATO decision to boost Turkey’s air defenses against a potential Syrian missile attack, withdrew its Patriot missile batteries and the Dutch soldiers operating them in Adana province in 2014, saying it could no longer maintain them.
Spain replaced the Dutch Patriot unit that was removed from Turkey and sent 130 soldiers to operate the missile systems.