Spain aims to ensure Turkey’s security: Spanish minister
MADRID – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoSpain’s provision of Patriot air defense missiles to Turkey will ensure its security and stability as a NATO ally, Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenés has said.
Turkey was exposed to terrorist attacks because of its borders with conflict-ridden countries, Morenés told Anadolu Agency on Jan. 16 in Madrid.
“Spain’s support to Turkey is normal, as we see Turkey as a friendly, allied country. We also support a safety corridor, which [Turkey] wants to establish with other NATO allies, in this region,” he said.
Spain decided in September to send Patriot air defense missiles to Turkey as part of its NATO obligations, to replace units from the Netherlands that were being withdrawn. The Spanish-provided naval ships carrying missiles arrived at the port of Iskenderun Limak in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay on Jan. 9.
Morenés said he plans to visit Turkey in late January, and the missile defense system is expected to be activated Jan. 26.
“I believe the relationship between Turkey and Spain is very important because of the two countries’ location in the Mediterranean area. Our relationship is important for stability in the Mediterranean,” he added.
Referring to last week’s massacre at the Paris headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Morenés said: “The latest incident is a terrorist act and should not be seen as being related to Islamophobia.”
“It is possible for terrorism to have different roots – and Spain and Turkey know that very well. The Paris attack is not something new – a different kind of violence was used in the latest attack – and special precautions should be taken,” he said.
“Our priority is to ensure the safety of our citizens as state and government. The Spanish government does not recognize the Paris attack as a religious issue,” Morenés added.
“Security measures will be taken only against terrorism. Possible struggles that may be faced are against terrorism and not related to Islam or Muslims,” he said.
Meanwhile, touching on the issue of Syria, Morenés said the Syrian people must decide Syria’s future, adding that if a decision is made by the United Nations in relation to Syria, Spain would take it into consideration.
More than 190,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict between the Bashar al-Assad regime and opposition forces began in early 2011, according to U.N. figures published in August 2014.