Germans OK Patriot Missiles To Defend Turkey | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Germans OK Patriot Missiles To Defend Turkey

Germany's Cabinet on Thursday approved sending German Patriot air defense missiles to Turkey to protect the NATO member against possible attacks from Syria, in a major step toward possible Western military role in the Syrian conflict.

Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters that two batteries with a total of 400 soldiers would be sent to the border area under NATO command for one year, although the deployment could be shortened.

The decision must be endorsed by the German Parliament, but approval is all but assured.

The Dutch Cabinet is expected to announce approval Friday contingent on parliamentary approval.

De Maziere said the overall mission was also expected to include two batteries each from the Netherlands and the United States.

The Western alliance decided this week to approve sending the weapons to prevent cross-border attacks against Turkey after mortar rounds and shells from Syria killed five Turks.

But the announcement also appeared to be a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime at a time when Washington and other governments fear Syria may be readying its chemical weapons stockpiles for possible use.

Syria has denounced the NATO plan but German officials stressed that the missiles will only be used to defend Turkish territory and would not be a part of any "no fly zone" over Syrian territory.

"Nobody knows what such a regime is capable of and that is why we are acting protectively here," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.

Officials said the Patriots will be programmed so that they can intercept only Syrian weapons that cross into Turkish airspace. They aren't allowed to penetrate Syrian territory pre-emptively. That means they would have no immediate effect on any Syrian government offensives — chemical or conventional — that remain strictly inside the country's national borders.

Due to the complexity and size of the Patriot batteries — including their radars, command-and-control centers, communications and support facilities — they will probably have to travel by sea, NATO officials said.

They probably won't arrive in Turkey for another month, officials predicted.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Director Says He Was Fired From Theater J, Cites 'Philosophical Differences'

After 18 years as artistic director of the Washington DCJCC's in-house theater company, Ari Roth is leaving. In a statement, the JCC says Roth "is stepping down to pursue a new series of endeavors." But Roth says he was fired.
NPR

New Cuba Relationship Could Be A Boon For American Farmers

Two-thirds of the food Cubans eat is imported — but the reestablishment of ties with the U.S. could open opportunities for American farmers.
WAMU 88.5

Bowser Taps Council Member Tommy Wells For Cabinet Position

Just a few months ago, Council Member Wells was battling with Bowser to become the Democratic candidate for mayo. But now he becomes the first-ever D.C. Council member to move to a position in a new mayoral cabinet.
NPR

Obama Says 'James Flacco.' The Internet Says, Thank You

It was an honest mistake. But when President Obama said "James Flacco" when referring to James Franco — on a Friday before the holidays, no less — the slip was eagerly received online.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.