US Extends Patriot Missile Deployment in Turkey

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Secretary of Defense Chuck HagelThe United States is extending its commitment of two Patriot missile batteries to guard Turkey from air attacks out of neighboring Syria, defense officials said Monday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that the United States would provide the batteries for an additional year during a meeting at the Pentagon early Monday. Turkey had requested the extension on Nov. 8.

Along with the U.S. missiles, contributions over the past year from the Netherlands and Germany brought the number of Patriot batteries guarding Turkey’s southern flank to six, all of them under NATO command.

“This renewal of the Patriot deployment is and will remain defensive only and represents a concrete demonstration of alliance solidarity and resolve,” assistant pentagon press secretary Carl Woog said in an emailed statement after the meeting. . . .

The U.S. batteries that have been in place for most of the last year were in the process of being returned to the United States for maintenance, and two replacement batteries being set up when Hagel announced the decision, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Firman said Monday.

The new batteries are operated by the 5th Battalion of the 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment out of Germany, he said.

“Ultimately, the mission does not change,” Firman said. “What’s changing is the personnel and the time line.”

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Image: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (photo: Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/DoD)