US agrees to extend deployment of missiles in Turkey

US agrees to extend deployment of missiles in Turkey
Mon Nov 18, 2013 22:17:33

The United States has agreed to extend by one year the deployment of two US Patriot missile batteries deployed along Turkey's border with Syria.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the Pentagon to discuss the countries' bilateral relationship and efforts within NATO.

The US agreed to an extension of the Patriot deployment "in response to Turkey's request for the alliance to continue augmenting Turkey's air defenses," Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog said.

"This renewal of the Patriot deployment is and will remain defensive only and represents a concrete demonstration of alliance solidarity and resolve," he said.

Turkey has earlier requested NATO to extend the deployment of surface-to-air Patriot missiles on its soil for another year.

The NATO military alliance approved a request by Turkey for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles along the border region with Syria on December 4, 2012.

The Western alliance says the missiles are to avoid dangers caused by the crisis in Syria. However, countries like Iran, Russia and China have repeatedly voiced their opposition to the deployment, saying the move will only increase regional tensions.

Turkish people have held several demonstrations against the military plan. The Syrian government has also censured the move, calling it another act of provocation from Ankara.


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