Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 2 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /
Turkey's decision on the deployment of a European missile defense system (MDS) in its territory can only be welcomed, as this step fulfills its commitments as a NATO member, Ariel Cohen, Leading expert of the Heritage Foundation for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, member of Trend Expert Council, believes.
"Ankara earlier had serious questions about the placement of the radar, but apparently NATO governments gave a full explanation to Turkey on MDS's role," Cohen told Trend.
He said Turkey's decision became the second sore point in the Ankara-Tehran relations, following Turkey's demands to end the crackdown in Syria, a demand which disappointed Tehran.
"Turkey understands that its membership to NATO is of crucial importance for the country's international role not only in the region, but throughout the world. Of course, Washington and Brussels can only welcome this decision," Cohen said.
An early warning radar about the threat of missile attack will be placed in Turkey as part of the MDS created by the U.S. and NATO, Turkish Foreign Ministry's official Selcuk Unal told journalists on Friday.
He said the decision to deploy the MDS in Turkey was taken at a NATO summit in Lisbon in 2010, and Turkey initially supported the work connected with the implementation of this initiative.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparas two days earlier stated that Tehran has expressed its concern to Ankara over the decision to deploy the radar. He underscored that such a move would play into the hands of Israel and foreign forces in the region.
A few days earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said his country's "patience ends" due to the events in Syria, and Ankara intends to publicly declare its tough position to President Bashar al-Assad.
Mass protests in Syria began in mid-March in Dera'a in the south of the country, spreading to other regions.
According to authorities, since the beginning of the developments, around 500 soldiers and members of security forces were killed.