ANKARA, Nov. 8 — Turkey’s recent move to raise the possibility of deploying NATO’s Patriot missiles along the border with Syria aims to boost the alliance’s deterrence capability and further its stakes in the Syrian crisis, Turkish analysts said.
“I think NATO is delivering a message to Syrian backers, mainly Russia and Iran, that it will not tolerate the Syrian crisis to pose a threat to the alliance’s security,” Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, head of Ankara’s International Strategic and Security Research Center, told Xinhua over the phone.
“This is perfectly in line with the long-pursued goal of containment policy of NATO against Russia,” he said, adding that Patriot missiles will neutralize the air defense capabilities in Syria.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday in Brussels that NATO is preparing to deploy Patriot missiles on the Turkish side of the border with Syria as part of its contingency planning.
Diplomatic sources in the Turkish capital of Ankara also said the issue was discussed as part of the preparations and contingency planning on the security of NATO territories.
In fact, Turkey has not made any official request for the deployment of the missile defense system yet. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Indonesia that “there has been no such request.”
The Turkish prime minister’s remarks were confirmed Wednesday by U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland. “We’ve been working within NATO and with Turkey to look at what other defensive support Turkey might require. My understanding is that as of today, we haven’t had a formal request of NATO,” the spokesperson said in a daily press briefing Wednesday.