Turkey Asks NATO to Extend Patriot Deployments

US Patriot battery under NATO command overlooking the city of GaziantepTurkey has asked NATO to extend for another year the deployment of Patriot missile batteries sent to Turkey by NATO countries after Ankara requested the Patriots last year to fend off a Syrian attack, according to a Turkish Foreign Ministry official.

“There has been no change at the Syrian border since last year. So the Patriots need to remain in place as long as there is a need and necessity,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gümrükçü told Today’s Zaman.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has sent a letter requesting the extension of the Patriot batteries’ deployment to areas along the Syrian border in the southern provinces of Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş and Adana. The batteries have been in those provinces since last December. The extension request was necessary, as the Patriots’ deployment is set to end after one year.

NATO countries were notified about Davutoğlu’s letter by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Today’s Zaman has learned. No problems are expected in extending the Patriots’ deployment another year.  (via Pieter Bastiaans)

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Image: US Patriot battery under NATO command overlooking the city of Gaziantep (photo: NATO)