STUTTGART, Germany — Patriot missiles could soon be on the way to Turkey, which is requesting NATO support as security concerns mount along Turkey’s border with Syria.
“I have received a letter from the Turkish government requesting the deployment of Patriot missiles,” said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in a statement on Wednesday. “Such a deployment would augment Turkey’s air defense capabilities to defend the population and territory of Turkey. It would contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO’s south-eastern border. And it would be a concrete demonstration of Alliance solidarity and resolve.”
In Turkey’s formal request for the missiles, it stated that the Patriots will be defensive only and not be used to support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation, according to NATO.
NATO said it will discuss Turkey’s request “without delay.”
In a post on his official Facebook account, Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s top military officer, stated: “Turkey has requested Patriot batteries for protection from Syrian ballistic missiles, and if approved we will work to fill their request from NATO Alliance assets.”
Only three NATO countries possess Patriots — the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands. It will be up to those nations to decide if they can support the mission, NATO said.
In recent days, German media has reported that Germany could be willing to deploy its Patriots in support of Turkey.
Next week, a “joint team” will visit Turkey to conduct a site-survey for the possible deployment of Patriots, according to NATO.