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.

 

Extremist groups capture last major regime holdout in northwest Syria

Deadly fighting rages in Yemen southern towns

‘Islamic State’ suicide bombers target Iraq-Jordan crossing

Four Egypt Islamists killed while preparing bombs

France opens preliminary probe into forced labour allegations in Qatar

‘Islamic State’ kills Iraq senior officers in Anbar province

Entrepreneurs encourage people to ‘buy Syrian’

Over 100 children killed in Yemen since March 26

Libya militia alliance 'carries out air raids' against IS

UN 'confident' rebels will sign Mali peace deal

Petraeus gets two years probation for info leak

Iranian ships turn back from Yemen

Palestinians mourn as Jews celebrate

UN chief set to appoint Mauritanian diplomat as Yemen envoy

Obama takes 'full responsibility' for deaths of Qaeda hostages in US operation

Turkey warns Austria over decision to condemn ‘Armenian genocide’

Yemen conflict poses dangers across Gulf of Aden

Hopes for final deal on second day of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna

Security tightened at Saudi shopping malls

US returns stolen Egypt artifacts

EU mulls military action against human traffickers in Libya

Libyan journalist shot dead in Benghazi

Arms experts warn of 'Faustian bargain' with Iran

Fresh Saudi-led air strikes target Yemen rebels

Rebel-IS clashes in Syria kill at least 42 fighters in 24 hours

Who’s more dangerous: Jihadists who left their countries or those staying at home?

France foils 'imminent' attack by jihadist sympathiser

Algeria army kills three armed Islamists west of capital

Israel removes Palestinian teen's name from memorial wall

Egyptian businessman testifies at Al-Jazeera retrial

Kenya asks donors to save world’s largest refugee camp

Sanctions, possible Congress intervention to dominate fresh nuclear talks

Arab army chiefs kick off work on building regional force

One year after agreement, Palestinian reconciliation hits rock bottom

Arab coalition resumes airstrikes against Huthi rebels

UN member states urged to protect Iraqi cultural sites

London mulls ways to help Europe's refugee crisis

Finalising of Iran nuclear deal set to begin

Saudi–led coalition declares end to Yemen air war

Palestine teenager inscribed on Israel memorial wall

Deadly attack targets busy restaurant in Somalia capital

War in Yemen raises profile of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Libya condemns 'death smugglers' after shipwreck

Sudan security agents detain opposition activist

Main Kurdish party vows to be 'sultan' Erdogan's nightmare