NATO to consider Turkey missiles request as "matter of urgency"
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday that the military alliance would consider "as a matter of urgency" a request from Turkey to deploy Patriot missiles along its border with Syria, should Ankara demand it, Xinhua reported.
Rasmussen said NATO had received no formal request from Turkey so far, but if one was made, "we will consider that as a matter of urgency."
"The situation along the Syria-Turkey border is of great concern. We have all the plans in place to defend and protect Turkey if needed. These plans will be adjusted if necessary to ensure effective protection of Turkey," he said ahead of talks with EU defense ministers in Brussels.
Rasmussen said NATO had not discussed the plan of imposing a no-fly zone with the back-up of the Patriot missiles.
"If we are to deploy Patriot missiles, it will be a purely defensive measure to defend and protect Turkey. The deployment will take place on Turkey's territory," he said.
Tensions between Turkey and neighboring Syria soared in early October when shells coming from Syria landed in Turkish border towns, which drew Turkish reprisals.
During the first and second Iraq wars, Turkey had requested twice to NATO for the deployment of Patriot missiles. In both cases, deployments were carried out by the Netherlands, a member of NATO.