First Published: 2012-11-08

 

Turkey now expects US to handle Syria crisis differently

 

Turkish FM says his country discusses Patriot deployment with NATO in face of potential risk from Syria.

 

Middle East Online

By Fulya OZERKAN - ANKARA

Patriot missile launchers

Turkey said Wednesday it is in talks with NATO over the possible deployment of Patriot missiles on its soil amid the escalating conflict in neighbouring Syria, but the prime minister insisted that no request has yet been made.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters during a visit to Brussels that it was only "normal" to discuss any defence measures in the face of potential risk from Syria, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.

Turkey has already beefed up border security with tanks and anti-aircraft batteries in the face of the deadly 20-month conflict in Syria, which has occasionally spilled over into Turkish soil.

Davutoglu would not say if his government was planning to make an official request to the transatlantic military alliance, emphasising that NATO had a responsibility in any case to protect all member states including Turkey.

But Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently in Indonesia, said: "We have not made such request so far," according to Anatolia.

Davutoglu's spokesman Selcuk Unal had said earlier that discussions with NATO were under way as part of "contingency planning on the security of Turkey and NATO territories."

A NATO official in Brussels also said: "At this point we are not aware of any Turkish request."

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington had been in discussions for "many months" with Ankara and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization "to look at what other defensive support Turkey might require."

"My understanding is that as of today, we haven't had a formal request of NATO, but as you know, in the past we have reinforced Turkey with Patriots," she told journalists.

Turkey has systematically retaliated to every cross-border shelling since Syrian fire killed five Turks on October 3, also calling an emergency NATO meeting and demanding UN Security Council action over what it called a "heinous" attack.

A Turkish diplomat said it was too early to directly link the possible deployment of Patriots to the Syria conflict, adding that the request for the missiles was within Turkish plans to reinforce its air defence system.

The US-made Patriot system is capable of intercepting both aircraft and missiles.

One-time allies Turkey and Syria fell out after Ankara joined Arab and Western countries in demanding that President Bashar al-Assad halt his violent crackdown on the popular uprising that erupted in March last year and has now escalated into civil war.

Turkey is home to over 110,000 Syria refugees in several camps along its border as well as exiled military and political opposition leaders.

But its pleas for a safe haven inside Syria fell on deaf ears at a UN Security Council meeting in August.

Turkey is hoping to secure more backing for its stance from the United States following the re-election of President Barack Obama, after diplomatic sources expressed disappointment with what they saw as a lack of robust action on the Syria conflict by Washington.

Erdogan said Wednesday he now expected the United States to handle the Syria crisis differently, in remarks carried by Anatolia, without elaborating.

Turkey's Milliyet newspaper reported that the United States was considering installing Patriot missiles along the Turkey-Syria border to create some form of no-fly zone, as long as there was no involvement of ground troops in Syria.

 

Concern and grief as Britain remembers 2005 terror bombings

Iran nuclear talks: Will Ministers score diplomatic success?

Deadly US raids target ISIS stronghold in Syria

After Tunisia beach massacre, tourists switch to other destinations

Near Gaza Strip, Israelis live in fear behind concrete walls

Tunisia declares state of emergency after beach massacre

Erdogan moots possibility of snap election

Coalitions of Syria rebels battle regime forces in Aleppo

Lawlessness in Libya poses real danger for Tunisia

Hezbollah backs Syria army in major assault on border city

Syria mosque explosion kills at least 25 Nusra fighters

Egypt President in Sinai after jihadist attacks on security forces

Yemen Huthi rebels ‘attack’ various areas in Saudi Arabia

No guarantee of success as Iran nuclear talks inch closer to lasting deal

Egypt ‘in state of war’ on second anniversary of Islamist ouster

Ansar al-Sharia denies killing of Abu Iyadh in US air strike

Rockets from Sinai strike Israel

Palestinians arrest 100 Hamas members in West Bank

Erdogan inaugurates public mosque in palace

Islamists form alliance in battle for Aleppo

Top Tunisian jihadist reportedly killed by US strike in Libya

Emir attends joint Shiite, Sunni prayers in Kuwait

Hamas denies involvement in Sinai attacks

4 Qaeda suspects killed in US drone attack in Yemen

'Series of errors' behind Air Algerie crash in Mali

Ankara has no plans for imminent intervention in Syria

21 killed in clashes, strikes in Yemen's Aden

GCC states vow united stand against IS mosque bombings

Palestinians protest one year after teenager burned alive

Egypt vows to wipe out 'dens of terror'

Tunisia arrests eight in connection with beach massacre

Youth in Tunisia 'ripe for radicalisation'

UN sends mission to 'assess' South Sudan atrocities

Syria urges citizens to enlist

AQAP step up campaign to eradicate qat

Iraq Christians train for jihad against IS

British FM: 'No breakthrough yet' in Iran nuclear talks

UN imposes first sanctions on six South Sudan generals

Libya rival governments will not return to peace talks

Fighting rages in Yemen’s Aden

Egypt government adopts anti-terror law

Kurds warn Turkey against any ‘aggression’ in Syria

Kuwait makes DNA tests mandatory after suicide bombing

Kuwait parliament approves deficit budget on oil slide

Pro-Erdogan candidate becomes new speaker of Turkey parliament