Turkey rejects NATO singling out Iran
Amid Western efforts to persuade Turkey to join the NATO missile system, Ankara says that a plan which singles out Iran as a threat will be unacceptable, Press TV reported.
"NATO is a defense organization. A defense system is being developed against anyone in the world who has ballistic missiles and does not belong to NATO," Turkish President Abdullah Gul said in an interview with the state-run BBC's Turkish service on Monday.
"Mentioning one country, Iran... is wrong and will not happen. A particular country will not be targeted.... We will definitely not accept that," AFP quoted Gul as saying.
In September, Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Anders Fogh Rasmussen proposed to develop a EUR 200-million ($253 million) missile system around Europe against possible attacks by "rogue states."
The NATO chief then named Iran's nuclear program as one of the reasons that justify the necessity of a missile system, and said, "If Iran eventually acquires a nuclear capability, that will be very dangerous, and a direct threat to the allies."
Iran, as a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has declared that it has no plan to develop a military nuclear program.
"We do not perceive any threat from any neighbor countries and we do not think our neighbors form a threat to NATO," Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in October.
NATO member states have also been trying to ensure Russia's cooperation in the project.
Russia, however, has opposed the plan, arguing that the missile system would be a threat to its sovereignty and that it is meant to pacify its ballistic capability.
We should first determine "who, how and when can get hold of missile technologies capable of posing a threat to both Russia and NATO member states," Russia's Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said earlier this year.
Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in October, "We don't share all the West's views on the capacities of the Iranian nuclear program."
France has also voiced concerns about the missile systems. After a meeting with Rasmussen in March, French Defense Minister Herve Morin asked, "What threat are we responding to? What are the risks?"