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Turkish FM rejects concerns over NATO missile deployment

11-26-2012 06:15 BJT

ANKARA, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday dismissed Russian and Iranian concerns that the possible deployment of NATO missiles along Turkey's southern border with Syria would make the crisis more complicated.

"We cannot see any point that would justify these concerns. The missile system has a defensive purpose only. This system will not be operational unless there is a risk to our security. And it is our government's obligation to take any measure when there is even the slightest chance of risk," Davutoglu told a televised interview on private news channel CNN Turk.

"When the risk against our borders is alleviated Patriots will leave our country," Davutoglu said.

On Wednesday, Turkey placed a formal request to NATO for the deployment of Patriot missiles along the Syrian border, which saw an escalation of tensions between the two neighbors after a stray Syrian shell had landed in Turkey, killing five people.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO would discuss Turkey's request without delay, and a technical team from NATO was expected to visit Turkey on Monday to conduct a site- survey for the possible deployment of the missiles.

"If approved, the deployment would be undertaken in accordance with NATO's standing air defense plan. It is up to the individual NATO countries that have available Patriots," Rasmussen said.

The United States, Germany and The Netherlands are the only NATO members to have Patriot missiles in their arsenals.

NATO has installed anti-aircraft batteries in Turkey twice before during the 1991 and 2003 Iraq wars. They were never used and were removed a few months later.


Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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