Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday that NATO member Ankara would formally ask the alliance for Patriot missiles to protect its border with conflict-wracked Syria.
“(Patriots) are a precautionary measure, for defense in particular,” Davutoglu told reporters before he left Ankara for Gaza. “We will submit the formal request as soon as possible.”
Davutoglu’s comments came a day after NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance had received no formal request from Turkey for the surface-to-air missiles, but they would consider it as “a matter of urgency” if one was made.
Davutoglu did not elaborate on the details of the Patriot deployment but he said Ankara was “in the last phase of talks” before the request went through.
Turkey’s border villages have been hit by artillery fire from Syria as forces loyal to Damascus battle rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.