First NATO Patriot battery in Turkey operational

  • Last updated: 26 Jan. 2013 12:41

MONS, Belgium — The first of six Patriot missile batteries deploying to Turkey was declared operational and placed under the command and control of NATO on Saturday, 26 January.

Final checks are made to a Patriot missile launch station at Adana International Airport on Friday, 25 January. The equipment, provided by the Netherlands, is the first of six Patriot missile batteries declared operational and placed under the command and control of NATO on Saturday, 26 January  It will help to protect the city and people of Adana against missile threats.

The battery, provided by the Netherlands, will help to protect the city and people of Adana against missile threats.

"NATO Allies asked us to augment Turkey's air defence capabilities in December, and we are delivering operational forces in January," said Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. "Thanks to the hard work of the nations providing Patriot systems, the expertise of communications specialists from six NATO nations, and the diligent planning of multinational military staff at Air Command Ramstein in Germany and at SHAPE Headquarters in Belgium, we have established this defensive capability promptly," Admiral Stavridis added.

Allies have committed to a total of six Patriot batteries to augment Turkey's air defences. The other five batteries are expected to be in place and operational in the coming days.

In response to Turkey’s request, NATO Foreign Ministers decided on 4 December 2012 that NATO would “augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities in order to defend the population and territory of Turkey and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the Alliance’s border.”

"This is a clear demonstration of the agility and flexibility of NATO forces and of our willingness to defend Allies who face threats in an unstable world," said Admiral Stavridis.

Patriot systems will be deployed to help protect the Turkish cities of Kahramanmaras, Adana, and Gaziantep. This deployment is defensive only. It will in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.