Turkish diplomat: “We don’t want any problems at the NATO summit”

"Turkey hesitates on missile defense"

From Desmond Butler, the AP:  The U.S. would like Turkey to host a radar installation for its European missile shield and to back a proposal to make missile defense a core mission for NATO. After initial enthusiasm about the radar, Turkey has hesitated. Its main concern is that it does not want the missile defense system to explicitly target Iran. Turkey also doesn’t want NATO to go on record at its summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 19-21, identifying Iran as a ballistic missile threat. …

Turkey has an interest in not alienating Tehran. It is increasingly dependent on Iranian energy resources and eager to expand trade. …

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said this week at a conference on U.S.-Turkish relations that the United States is not pressuring Turkey on the missile defense issues. Still, a Turkish refusal of the radar or problems negotiating the NATO statement could cause tensions to spike. Both sides say they are looking for a solution.

"We do want to reach a deal," Selim Yenel, deputy undersecretary in the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said in an interview. "We don’t want any problems at the NATO summit. It should be finalized by then."  (photo: Turkish Radio-Television)

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