NATO: Patriot Missiles Are Going to Turkey

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 4, 2012 2:36 PM CST

(Newser) – Now it's official: NATO agreed today to send Patriot anti-missile systems to Turkey to protect against attacks from war-torn Syria, the AP reports. The systems—which include radars, missiles, and other facilities—will be programmed only to fend off the Syrian shells and mortar rounds that have already killed five people in Turkey. That means the Patriots can't be used to strike preemptively or start an offensive against Syria. And the delivery will not expand into a no-fly zone over Syria, said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Still, Rasmussen was still emphatic about the move: "We stand with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity," he said. "To anyone who would want to attack Turkey, we say, 'Don't even think about it!'" The Netherlands and Germany will likely send Turkey several of the latest Patriot defense systems, with the US adding more if necessary. Because the systems are big and complex, they have to be shipped by sea rather than air and will probably take about a month to arrive.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks at a media conference during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks at a media conference during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
In this July 20, 2006 file photo, a US-made Patriot missile is launched during an annual exercise in Taiwan.
In this July 20, 2006 file photo, a US-made Patriot missile is launched during an annual exercise in Taiwan.   (AP Photo/File)
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