NATO agrees to augment Turkey’s air-defence capabilities
NATO ministers of foreign affairs agreed to augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities by deploying Patriot missiles at a meeting in Brussels today (4 December).
The situation along NATO’s south-eastern border and the repeated violations of Turkey’s territory raise grave concern, NATO foreign ministers said in a statement.
Ministers declared their determination to deter threats to, and defend, Turkey. They welcomed the intention of Germany, the Netherlands and the United States to provide Patriot missile batteries, subject to their respective national procedures. Once deployed, the systems will be under the operational command of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR).
“Turkey has asked for NATO’s support, and we stand with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a press conference.
“To the Turkish people we say: we are determined to defend you and your territory. To anyone who would want to attack Turkey we say don’t even think about it”, he said.
The Secretary General stressed that the deployment will be defensive only, will in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation and will contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the Alliance’s border.
The agreement follows consultations in the framework of Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty held at Turkey’s request. The North Atlantic Council will regularly assess the developing situation and the implementation of deployment.
“NATO’s ultimate task is the protection and defence of our members. Today, we underline once again our steadfast commitment to the security of this Alliance and our full solidarity and resolve to protect our populations and territories,” Mr Rasmussen underlined.
Mr Rasmussen said that NATO Foreign ministers unanimously expressed grave concern over reports that the Syrian regime may be considering the use of chemical weapons and underlined that any such action would be completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law.
Ministers also discussed the way the Alliance works with countries and organisations from around the world to improve shared security.
“Partnerships are at the core of NATO’s business. Partner countries have played a significant role in all our recent operations”, the Secretary General noted.
Ministers reconfirmed the Alliance’s commitment to the Open Door policy and stressed NATO’s determination to continue helping countries that aspire to join the Alliance to move closer to achieving their aspirations.