Turkey backs Nato missile defence shield against Iran – Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/8737158/Turkey-backs-Nato-missile-defence-shield-against-Iran.html

Turkey backs Nato missile defence shield against Iran

From the page: “The Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Friday that negotiations over the Alliance’s anti-missile shield had reached ‘their final stages.’

‘It is anticipated that the early warning radar system allocated by the US for Nato will be deployed in our country,’ said a statement.

‘Turkey’s hosting of this element will constitute our country’s contribution to the defence system being developed in the framework of Nato’s new strategic concept. It will strengthen Nato’s defence capacity and our national defence system.’

Last November, Nato leaders approved a new mission statement for the Western military Alliance, committing among other things to missile defence.

Nato’s ‘ Strategic Concept’ for the coming decade, approved at a summit in Lisbon, confirmed its core task of defending its territory and the commitment to collective defence of its 28 members.Turkey, with Nato’s second biggest military, has a geo-strategic importance to the Alliance dating back to its role as a front-line state in the Cold War era. But its value to Nato has risen as Middle East states with anti-Western policies, like Iran, have developed their missile capabilities.

Until Friday, Turkey, which has cultivated close ties with its neighbour Iran, had threatened to block the deal if Tehran is explicitly named as a threat to be countered by the Nato system.

Ankara had also been at odds with the US and EU over their stance toward Iran’s nuclear programme, arguing for a diplomatic solution to the standoff instead of sanctions.

But the agreement over hosting the Nato radar comes at a time when Turkey and Iran appear to be differing on their approach toward Syria, with Turkey becoming increasingly critical of Iranian ally Syria’s brutal suppression of anti-regime protests.

Under the Nato plans, a limited system of US anti-missile interceptors and radars already planned for Europe – to include interceptors in Romania and Poland as well as the radar in Turkey – would be linked to expanded European-owned missile defences. That would create a broad system that protects every Nato country against medium-range missile attack.”

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