NATO mulls ways to substitute Dutch contribution

Photo: NATO mulls ways to substitute Dutch contribution / Turkey

Although the Netherlands has decided to end its contribution to NATO's deployment of Patriot anti-ballistic missile systems in Turkey at the end of January, the alliance's deployments will continue, a Turkish diplomat has told Hurriyet Daily News reported. The official noted the U.S. and Germany plan to extend the mission for one more year.

The Dutch House of Representatives announced on Aug. 25 that the Dutch government has decided not to extend the Patriot missiles mission in Turkey.

Noting the threat of attacks from Syria to Turkey is not completely over, the Netherlands also said NATO would continue its efforts to protect Turkey.

Turkish diplomats held meetings with their Dutch counterparts on Aug. 25 in The Hague and Ankara, while another meeting took place in Brussels among NATO allies to discuss the Netherlands' decision, the diplomat told the Daily News.

The Dutch government cited problems in providing personnel resources to operate the Patriot systems in Turkey and the need for "comprehensive maintenance" for the batteries, which they said could only be provided in its headquarters, according to the diplomat.

The Netherlands, Germany and the U.S. each sent two Patriot missile batteries and soldiers to operate them in early 2013, in response to a request from NATO ally Turkey for protection against attacks from Syria.

There is no problem with the contribution to NATO's Patriot batteries by Germany and the U.S., the diplomat said, adding the Alliance will discuss ways to replace the Dutch batteries.

Germany, the U.S. and the Netherlands have been extending the one-year deployment mission since 2013, but no time limit for the mission was set.

Shells fired from Syrian territory frequently land inside Turkey, prompting responses from the Turkish military.

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