Turkey cool to the withdrawal of Patriots

Turkey cool to the withdrawal of Patriots

Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
Turkey cool to the withdrawal of Patriots

German President Joachim Gauck (2L) and Commander of the Patriot Deployment Association, Colonel Stefan Drexler (3L) visit the German 'Patriot' missile defense squadron near Kahramanmaras. DHA Photo

Turkey believes the withdrawal of the Patriot anti-ballistic missile systems that have been deployed by three prominent NATO countries on its soil, would be inappropriate and draw reaction.

Ankara’s concerns come especially at a time when there are serious security threats at its borders and in the Middle East.

“We have no such information. This issue was not been brought up by the German foreign minister in our minister’s meeting last week. At a moment when there are serious security problems [in the region], a decision to withdraw these systems from Turkey would be inappropriate and unsuitable to the [values of our] alliance,” Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News on June 23.

Sources also said such a move would surely draw Turkey’s reaction without detailing how it would be reflected by NATO.

German magazine Der Spiegel argued German authorities were considering taking the agenda over the withdrawal of the Patriot anti-ballistic missiles from Turkey to the NATO Summit in Wales this September.

Given the improvement in eliminating the Syrian army’s arsenal of chemical weapons and lack of personnel in the German army, German authorities believe there is no need to further extend the mandate for another year. Upon Turkey’s request over a potential Syrian offensive into its territories in 2012, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands each provided Turkey with two batteries of these missile systems in three different towns in Southeastern Anatolia.

In the meantime, deputy spokesman of the German Defense Ministry Ingo Gerhartz said the mandate of these systems could be extended if a request was made and the threat continues against Turkey. Recalling that the mandate of Patriots will terminate Jan. 31, 2015, Gerhartz said although the danger posed from Syria has been reduced, the situation is still risky.