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MURAT YETKİN > What will Patriots bring to Turkey?

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To give a short answer to the question above before expanding it further, it could be said that the Patriot missiles will bring the reiteration of the NATO umbrella against a possible attack from the Middle East - today from Syria, tomorrow perhaps as a result of an Israeli-Iranian conflict or another threat that is not seen today.

The Turkish military announced on Monday that it would start a joint field survey with other NATO officers to select the best sites to deploy U.S.-made Patriot anti-missile missile systems along the 910 km long Turkish-Syrian border.

The American, German and Dutch-owned batteries will be deployed from their bases in Europe against a possible attack from Syria, which has been in a terrible civil war for nearly two years now. Syria has Russian-designed missiles and Turkey has limited air defenses to prevent such an attack.

It seems that the NATO approval to deploy Patriot batteries to Turkey, despite strong warnings from Russia that forced the NATO Secretary General to call the Russian Foreign Minister to explain their purely defensive properties, has been a painful process. Patriots have been deployed Turkey before - in 1991 and 2003 - both during the two Iraq wars, but those cases did not come as a result of the exclusive defense needs of Turkey. Plus, NATO is taking a stance, perhaps for the first time in its history, regarding a potential threat against one of its members from a Middle Eastern country.

Well, there is no need to debate the fashionable mid-1990s thesis that NATO would die following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Instead, it can easily be said that NATO is now extending its threat assessments further, and the Russian worry does have some basis. Plus, with NATO approval of Patriot deployment, Ankara has saved itself from a potential political trap that the civil war in Syria would turn into a bilateral matter. Instead, it is now an international one.

But more than those, the deployment has endorsed the strategic value of Turkey regarding Western military-political system. It seems that the Missile Shied early warning radar site based earlier this year in Kürecik, in the eastern Turkish province of Malatya, has added value to Turkey’s strategic position. This is as a third asset following the Turkish straits and the İncirlik air base near the southern province of Adana, near the Syrian border, with an operation radius simultaneously covering most of the energy knots and channels of the region. Despite Iran’s threats saying that the Kürecik site and the Patriots would turn Turkey into a target, their deterrent value could be much more important than their being a target.

The deployment of Patriot batteries in Turkey could positively change the parameters of the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, and could endorse the image of NATO as a deterrent power as well.

November/27/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Asli Guven

11/29/2012 11:59:04 PM

Where is the article you wrote about corruption amongst those in high places and which appeared briefly before disappearing.

Engin Atik

11/28/2012 7:59:14 AM

Apparently it means signing up for being "cannon fodder." ( I hope both Blue and I are wrong )

Truth Teller

11/27/2012 9:11:26 PM

" What will Patriots bring to Turkey? - WAR with Syria, may be with Iran and much higher tension with Russia.

nyob nyobb

11/27/2012 7:03:27 PM

Does anyone seriously believe Syria can attack Turkey??

Blue Dotterel

11/27/2012 6:05:38 PM

The purpose for the setting up of patriots is to draw Turkey into a war with Syria by shooting down Syrian aircraft flying over Syria in an illegal no fly zone. Syria, and possibly Russia, will have no choice but to respond to this aggressive act, leading to a major conflict. Syria has no reason to attack Turkey, and has not done so. Turkey, NATO and the GCC are the aggressors, backing the terrorists in Syria, and this use of patriots is to continue and deepen this attack on the Syrian people.

Engin Atik

11/27/2012 4:56:14 AM

Patriot anti Ballistic missile is the final form of Reagan's SDI that started in 1983. Russia's complaint is that this would break the impasse of "Mutually Assured Destruction" and would give the "First Strike" option to NATO. Russia has been saying that these aren't purely defensive for the last 30 years. Thus peripheral NATO countries where Patriots are deployed become the first Russian targets before any sign of a First Strike effectively pushing the other NATO targets down the list.
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