Turkish FM refutes Iran’s accusations against Patriot missilesSouce:Xinhua Publish By Thomas Whittle Updated 19/12/2012 7:06 am in World / no comments
ANKARA, Dec. 18 — Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stressed on Tuesday that the Patriot missiles deployed along Turkey’s border with Syria are for “defense” purpose, refuting recent accusations by Iranian officials.
NATO recently approved Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot missiles, and would sent six Patriot missile batteries from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands to Turkey to be operational by the end of January 2013.
At a joint press conference with Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj on Tuesday, Davutoglu reiterated that “Patriot system is a defensive system, and it doesn’t operate as long as there is no attack against Turkey.”
Turkey has the “right” to protect itself using its national capacities and opportunities provided by NATO, the Turkish minister noted.
Davutoglu said Iran should “give a clear message to the Syrian regime to end the oppression” rather than point the finger at Turkey.
Last weekend, the joint chief of Iran’s armed forces General Hassan Firouzabadi said the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey “was part of a plot to create a world war.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cancelled a planned visit to Konya province of Turkey just a day after Firouzabadi warned Ankara against hosting Patriot systems.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi also said Sunday that the deployment of Patriot Systems would be “provocative rather than deterrent.”
The 21-month protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have turned increasingly bloody, with heavy fighting often erupting along Syria’s border with Turkey.