NATO Patriot air defense missiles arrive in Turkey
Naval ships carrying Patriot air defense missiles, a result of Turkey’s request for NATO assistance, arrived at the İskenderun port on Jan 9. DHA PhotoDefense missiles from Spain have arrived in the southern Turkish province of Hatay’s İskenderun port, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Naval ships carrying Patriot air defense missiles, a result of Turkey’s request for NATO assistance, arrived at the port on Jan. 9, officials stated.
The authorities have begun to unload the missiles from the military ships.
Turkey ordered the missiles to defend itself against potential attacks across its southern border. The batteries will be deployed at the İncirlik 10th Tanker Base Command in the southern province of Adana.
In September, Spain decided to send Patriot air defense missiles to Turkey to replace withdrawing units from the Netherlands as part of NATO assistance. The Dutch will end their participation at the end of January.
The U.S., Germany and the Netherlands each sent two Patriot batteries in 2012 to bolster Turkish air defense in response to a request from Ankara for NATO assistance for help protecting its territory as the civil war in Syria intensified. Due to the long border with Syria, shells fired from Syrian territory frequently land inside Turkish territories.
The U.S. and German contingents will continue to remain in Turkey.
Germany’s Cabinet on Jan. 7 agreed to keep two German Patriot missile batteries in southern Turkey for another year, Reuters reported.
The mandate, which needs approval from the German Parliament, allows a maximum of 400 German soldiers to serve in NATO-member Turkey until January 2016.
The civil war in Syria is about to enter its fifth year, with unrest inside the country having started in March 2011 as an extension of the Arab Spring that kicked off in Tunisia before rapidly spreading to the whole region.
According to official numbers, there were around 1,645,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey as of November 2014 but this number is believed to actually total 2 million. The majority of Syrian refugees in Turkey today live outside the camps, mainly in large cities across the country.
Turkey recently provided 1.5 million Syrian refugees with biometric IDs, according to data from the Interior Ministry and the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).
The number of school-aged Syrian children in Turkey is currently more than 350,000, according to official figures. UNICEF and Turkish officials have been coordinating efforts to train volunteer Syrian teachers at refugee camps, providing instruction to 3,500 teachers so far.