The NATO deployment of Patriot air defense systems in Turkey will be defensive only and will not support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation, the North Atlantic alliance said in a statement on Sunday.
“Its aim is to deter any threats to Turkey, to defend Turkey’s population and territory and to de-escalate the crisis on NATO’s south-eastern border,” the NATO statement added.
The bloc said the decision for missile deployment was taken following “a military assessment by the Allies involved and NATO’s Military Authorities.”
“Germany, the Netherlands and the United States have offered to provide two Patriot batteries each. Germany will deploy its batteries to Kahramanmaras, the Netherlands will deploy its batteries to Adana, and the United States will deploy its batteries to Gaziantep,” according to the statement.
Turkey, a NATO member, has repeatedly scrambled jets along the countries' joint frontier and has responded in kind when shells from Syria came down inside its borders, fanning fears that the civil war could spread to destabilize the region.
Iran opposes the installation of NATO missiles as Western interference in the region and has said it could lead to a “world war.”
“The installation of Patriot missiles in Turkey plays no role in establishing Turkey’s security and this harms the country of Turkey,” Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).
“The West has always pursued its viewpoints and interests and we disagree with the presence of Western countries in regional interactions,” he added.
Meanwhile, Russia said it was installing its advanced air defense systems S-400 near the border with Turkey.
Russian Col. Igor Gorbul was quoted by Turkey’s daily Hurriyet as saying that the installation of S-400 anti-aircraft missiles will be completed by the end of this year.