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Large majority in favour of deploying Patriot defence systems

On 14 December, a large majority in the German Bundestag voted to deploy Bundeswehr Patriot air defence batteries to Turkey. The purpose is to protect Turkey, a partner within NATO , from potential Syrian attack. Turkey is more immediately affected by the violence in Syria than any other country.

A total of 461 Members of the Bundestag voted to adopt the Government’s motion for a deployment mandate. There were 86 votes against and eight abstentions. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was glad to see the Bundestag express such strong backing. Germany will deploy up to 400 soldiers to help boost NATO’s integrated air defence on the Turkish-Syrian border. The deployment is planned to comprise two Patriot missile defence batteries from Germany, with the mandate running until 31 January 2014. The United States and the Netherlands also intend to station a number of Patriot batteries in Turkey.

Defensive deployment

Minister Westerwelle reiterated that this deployment was “purely defensive”. For Germany, he declared, it went without saying that we would help Turkey, our NATO partner, to defend itself against an external threat. It has been made very clear that the remit does not include establishing or monitoring a no fly zone over Syrian territory. Minister Westerwelle emphasized the importance of being prepared for “eventualities on the border” especially since the Assad regime was crumbling.

The German soldiers sent to Turkey will be serving under NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the NATO chain of command. Where they are to be stationed will be decided in close liaison with the participating states and Turkey. The mandate also covers the deployment of German soldiers who will undertake reconnaissance and surveillance duties on board AWACS aircraft.

The NATO Foreign Ministers gave the go-ahead for the deployment of Patriot defence systems in Turkey, as that country had requested, at their meeting on 4 and 5 December. The objective is “to defend the population and territory of Turkey and contribute to the de escalation of the crisis along the Alliance’s border”, to quote the Foreign Ministers’ statement. The United States, the Netherlands and Germany are the only NATO countries to have the most advanced version of the Patriot missile defence system.


Last updated 14.12.2012

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