Patriots to be deployed in three Turkish cities
Two soldiers run toward Patriot anti-missile systems during a presentation by the German forces in Warbelow. German Patriots will be deployed in Maraş. AP photo
NATO named the three Turkish provinces in which Patriot missile systems from Germany, the Netherlands and the United States will be deployed over the coming weeks, while Iran continues to urge that Patriot deployment will only harm Turkey.
“Germany will deploy its batteries in Kahramanmaraş, the Netherlands will deploy its batteries in Adana, and the United States will deploy its batteries in Gaziantep,” NATO said in a statement Dec. 22.
The deployment, which will take place over the next few weeks, “will be defensive only,” NATO said in the statement. “It will not support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation. Its aim is to deter any threats to Turkey, to defend Turkey’s population and territory and to de-escalate the crisis on NATO’s southeastern border.”
Germany, the Netherlands and the United States will be supplying ground-to-air missile batteries, which Turkey requested after a series of cross-border shellings from Syria, including an attack that killed five civilians.
‘Harm to Turkey’
NATO’s statement came a day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan named the same three southeastern provinces as locations for the Patriots.
“We made our application to NATO and they gave us six batteries and they will be deployed in Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş and Adana,” Erdoğan had told broadcaster NTV in a live interview.
However, Iran’s defense minister was quoted as saying that the installation of Patriot anti-missile batteries would only harm Turkey’s security.
Tehran opposes the installation of NATO missiles as Western interference in the region and has said it could lead to a “world war.” “The installation of Patriot missiles in Turkey plays no role in establishing Turkey’s security and this harms Turkey itself,” Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Dec. 22, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).
“The West has always pursued its viewpoints and interests and we disagree with the presence of Western countries in regional interactions.”
Vahidi also denied that Iran was training Syrian forces to battle the rebels, ISNA reported. “Syria has no need for the training of its forces by the Islamic Republic of Iran, because Syria has a powerful military that has prepared itself for involvement with the Zionist regime [Israel],” Vahidi said.
Meanwhile, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson called on Turkey to cooperate with Iran in order to provide security in the region, saying that the insecurity was only to Israel’s benefit.
Ramin Mehmanperest also said a solution to the regional crisis could only come after Turkish and Iranian officials met each other, speaking at a press conference in Turkey’s eastern province of Erzurum yesterday.