Category: Politics / December 18, 2012 4:36 PM EST
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reacted Tuesday (December 18) to comments from Iran’s armed forces chief asserting that the deployment of NATO Patriot Missile batteries to Turkey’s border with Syria is an act of aggression.
"Turkey has the right to protect its soil taking measures of national capacity and within the capacity of the alliance of which it (Turkey) is a member. Our expectation toward Iran is not to criticise the incoming defence system, to send a clear message to the Syrian regime and to use its power to stop injustice in Syria," Davutoglu told a news conference in the Turkish capital of Ankara.”
Over the weekend Iran’s armed forces chief said the deployment of the Patriot missile batteries could lead to a “world war”. The Iranian government has been a staunch supporter of the Syrian regime since the uprisings began 21 months ago.
According to Reuters News Turkey requested the Patriot systems in November after fighting related to the Syrian civil war spilled over Turkey’s border and NATO approved the request in early December.
A total of six Patriot batteries will be moved to Turkey’s southern border, two apiece from Germany, the United States and the Netherlands. According to U.S. News and World Report, 760 troops will be deployed in a support role, 400 from the United States and Germany and 360 from the Netherlands.
German soldiers were seen arriving in two busloads in the Turkish town of Kahramanmaras Tuesday to aid in the deployment of the batteries according to state-run Anadou news agency.
There are reports of pieces of the missile systems arriving in Turkey, but the batteries are not expected to be operational until sometime in mid-January.