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.

 

Egypt President meets Saudi King Salman for talks on bilateral ties

Netanyahu flies to Washington to press case against Iran nuclear deal

Court ruling may force delay of Egypt parliamentary elections

First Iran flight lands in Huthi-held Yemen capital

Iran to Internet giants: You can operate if you respect ‘cultural’ rules

Yemen separatists suspend participation in UN-sponsored talks

Scores dead as car bombs target crowded market in Iraq capital

Iran shrugs off Netanyahu bid to abort nuclear deal

Egypt lists Hamas as terrorist organisation

Jailed Kurdish leader calls on followers to lay down arms

Dozens dead as Qaeda takes strategic rebel base in Syria

UAE reopens Yemen embassy in Aden

Libya PM threatens new air strikes with Egypt against IS

Qatar takes full ownership of Porta Nuova

Roadmap finally agreed to end brutal Syria conflict

Turkey not placing high priority on fighting IS

IS militants destroy priceless ancient artefacts in Iraq’s Mosul

Aden becomes Yemen de facto ‘political capital’

Qatar emir committed to 'stability' in Egypt despite row

Rouhani adviser blames ‘extremists’ for rights violations

US-led coalition raids IS targets in northeastern Syria

IS executioner identity revealed

3 sentenced to death over Bahrain police killings

Hollande condemns French MPs for meeting Assad

HRW: Kurds preventing return of Arabs to disputed Iraq areas

One dead in series of Cairo bombings

UN Security Council calls for stepping up Yemen talks

Kerry: US, Iran have 'mutual interest' in defeating IS

Australian FM warns women against 'romantic adventure' with IS

Lebanese synagogue gets second life

Netanyahu speech to test resilience of US-Israeli ties

Austria adopts 'Islam of European character'

Tuareg chief issues plea for Mali unity

UN: Saleh amassed between $32-60 billion

Libyan FM warns country could be next Syria

Iran rejects US claims of role in Yemen crisis

French planes on Gulf-based carrier make first strikes

Top US official warns against Netanyahu speech to congress

Four French MPs meet Assad in Syria

FIFA cites 'problems' in worker conditions for Qatar World Cup

Mosque torched near Bethlehem

Egypt TV host faces trial for false bathhouse accusations

Turkey drives hard bargain over crucial missile deal

Obama nominates first US ambassador to Somalia since 1991

Obama praises Qatar as 'strong partner' in fighting IS