First US Patriot battery under NATO command and control
On a hillside overlooking the city of Gaziantep, the US Patriot missile launchers were activated under NATO command and control today.
"Today at 1000 the US Patriot unit at Gaziantep transferred authority to NATO command and became operational. This defensive effort by our NATO allies came at the request of our Government and is a clear sign of Alliance solidarity," said Major Cengiz Alabacak of the Turkish General Staff.
The US now becomes the third NATO nation to stand guard against a missile threat along Turkey's south-eastern border.
The Patriot Spokespersons answer media questions at the Gaziantep Patriot site
"Today the US has joined it fellow Allies Germany and the Netherlands in helping to protect the people of Turkey in this region," said the SHAPE Spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Dariusz Kacperczyk. "This is what NATO Allies do for each other. It is all part of collective defence."
The US shipped and airlifted their Patriot equipment to Turkey.
"Earlier this morning we activated the first of our two Patriot batteries to help protect the more than one and a half million people living in and around Gaziantep city," said Colonel Steve Richmond, of the 10th US Army Air and Missile Defence Command. "With the help of our Turkish military colleagues who are working with us we will have the second missile battery up by the middle of the month."