On 4 December, NATO decided to enhance the Alliance’s integrated air defence system by deploying Patriot missiles to Turkey. The Cabinet decided at a special meeting today that this would involve the stationing of up to 400 German soldiers there. The draft mandate submitted by the Federal Government for parliamentary approval envisages the mission expiring on 31 January 2014.
Enhancing the Alliance’s integrated air defence system in Turkey is a strictly defensive measure, a military deterrent designed to prevent the conflict in Syria from spilling over to Turkey. The mission is expressly not about establishing or monitoring a no fly zone over Syrian territory or taking any other offensive action.
Syria is a potential threat to Turkey, with the result that the latter is currently the NATO partner most affected by the Syrian conflict. The Assad regime has ballistic missiles and other weapons at its disposal.
The deployment of German Patriot air defence systems in very close cooperation with the Netherlands and the USA underlines Germany’s reliability as an alliance member. Upon their deployment to Turkey, the missiles and the personnel operating them will be under the control of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
Under his existing powers, SACEUR may also field AWACS capabilities. In this way, NATO will be able to guarantee the optimum protection of Turkey’s population and territory within the remit of its integrated air defence.
The German Parliament will if possible be seized with the matter at some time between 12 and 14 December.