White House praises “biggest strategic decision” between US and Turkey in almost 2 decades

The U.S. and Turkey move forward on missile defense

From Thom Shanker, the New York Times:  American officials called the deal with Turkey the most significant military cooperation between Washington and Ankara since 2003 , when Turkish officials infuriated their American counterparts by refusing to allow an armored division to cross Turkish territory to join the invasion of Iraq.

“This is probably the biggest strategic decision between the United States and Turkey in the past 15 or 20 years,” one senior administration official said Thursday at a White House briefing meant to call attention to the developments. . . .

There were hurdles to the deal. The Turkish news media published objections to the sharing of information gathered by the American radar with Israel. Relations between Turkey and Israel, once fairly close, soured badly after the Israeli government refused to apologize for the deadly assault last year on a flotilla trying to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Still, senior administration officials said Thursday that the United States had not agreed to any restrictions. The data from the radar in Turkey — combined with an array of other data and American intelligence assessments of missile threats — will be shared with allies, including Israel, in keeping with longstanding arrangements, officials said.

“It’s a U.S. radar,” said one senior official. . . .

The radar will be placed at a Turkish installation about 435 miles from Iran, officials said. A similar American missile-defense radar already operates in Israel.  (photo: Turkish Radio-Television)

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