NATO: Patriot missiles in Turkey “purely defensive”Souce:Xinhua Publish By Thomas Whittle Updated 18/12/2012 5:48 pm in World / no comments
BRUSSELS, Dec. 17 — The deployment of Patriot missiles by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Turkey is “purely defensive,” the alliance’s secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said here on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference after his meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, Rasmussen said NATO “has no offensive intentions whatsoever” by deploying Patriot in Turkey.
“I hope the fact that we have deployed Patriot missiles in Turkey can act as an effective deterrence so that no one would even think about attacking Turkey,” said Rasmussen.
NATO approved Turkey’s request in early December to augment its air defense against a potential cross-border attack from Syria by deploying Patriot missiles along the border. According to earlier media reports, around 600 NATO troops are expected to accompany the six Patriot missile systems to be deployed in Turkey.
Meanwhile, commenting on the current situation in Afghanistan, Rasmussen praised the contribution of Belgium to the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) under NATO command, in particular its air support with the presence of six F16 fighter jets.
He thanked Brussels for its commitment to continue to make a financial contribution to the training of Afghan security forces beyond the end of the transition in 2014.
Last Friday, the Belgian Ministry of Defence announced that it had completed the partial withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.