US orders Patriot missiles to Turkey
Incirlik Air Base (Turkey), December 14, 2012
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed an order on Friday to send two Patriot missile batteries to Turkey with 400 American personnel to operate them, in a move by Nato members to bolster Turkey's defences against the threat of Syrian missiles.
The order was signed shortly before Panetta arrived on an unannounced visit to Turkey to meet American troops stationed at the Incirlik Air Base, the last stop on a week-long trip that took him to Afghanistan and Kuwait.
"The purpose of this deployment is to signal very strongly that the United States, working closely with our NATO allies, is going to support the defense of Turkey, especially with potential threats emanating from Syria," spokesman George Little said.
Nato-member Turkey has repeatedly scrambled jets along the countries' joint frontier and responded in kind when shells from the Syrian conflict came down inside its borders, fanning fears that the civil war could spread to destabilise the region.
The widely expected US move follows similar steps by Germany and the Netherlands, which also said they will send two Patriot batteries. The three countries are the only Nato nations with the most modern type of Patriots.
Little declined to say where the US batteries would be located and said the systems would be deployed to Turkey for an unspecified amount of time.
"We expect them to be deployed in the coming weeks," Little said.
Nato approved Turkey's request for air defence batteries on Dec. 4, in a move meant to calm its fears of coming under missile attack, possibly with chemical weapons, from Syria.
The Patriot system is designed to intercept aircraft or missiles. Nato says the measure is purely defensive, but Russia, Syria and Iran have criticised the decision, saying it increases regional instability.-Reuters
More Government & Laws Stories
- GCC airlines defend female cabin crew policies
- Saudi names Brotherhood as terrorist group
- Qatar outraged over terror claims
- Bahrain PM condemns exploitation of children
- Qatar will not alter foreign policy: source
- Bahrain accuses Iran of fomenting trouble
- 'Put security before rights' in Bahrain: publisher
- 'Hizbollah trained Daih blast suspect'
- Key terror blast suspects named in Bahrain
- $2.6m Royal Fund for martyrs set up
- Bahrain to draw up new anti-terror laws
- GCC ROW: Qatar voices surprise over envoys pull out
- GCC tobacco tax rise ‘will fuel illicit trade’
- Saudi, UAE, Bahrain withdraw envoys from Qatar
- Bahrain explosion draws global condemnation
- GDN photographer hurt in blast is discharged
- Iran playing increasing role in Bahrain unrest
- Bahrain launches 6-point plan to fight terror
- Sisi gives sign he will run for president
- New Saudi clamp on energy drinks
- Health insurance must for Saudi visa
- Qatari doctor gets 7 years jail in UAE
- Family violence law articles approved in Bahrain
- Credit card thief jailed in Bahrain
- GDN photographer hurt in Bahrain explosion
- Bahrain King orders crackdown on terrorists
- Bahrain's 4-year development plan on track
- Bahrain authorities warn of rogue labour camps
- Experts draw 'startling comparisons' in explosives
- Bahrain reforms 'far exceed recommendations'