Published On: Thu, Sep 15th, 2011

Turkey: Early Warning Radar to be Deployed at Military Base Near Malatya

RADAR_TURKEYAn early warning radar that Turkey is planning to host as part of NATO’s missile defense system, will be deployed at a military base near Malatya in eastern Turkey, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday

Tehran has criticized Ankara’s decision to participate, saying it would create tension and lead to ‘complicated consequences.’Turkey and the United States have concluded a deal to station an early warning radar system in the eastern province of Malatya as part of a NATO missile defense program to counter threats mainly from Iran.

“The site surveys and relevant legal arrangements have been finalized, and accordingly a military installation in Kürecik [in Malatya province] has been designated as the radar site,” a Foreign Ministry statement said, adding that the base had been used in the past for similar purposes. The Hürriyet Daily News was the first to identify the location of the radar system in its earlier reports.

The Pentagon has said the radar will be operational by the end of 2011 and will be linked to ballistic missile defense ships operating in the Mediterranean Sea. A high-ranking Turkish military officer is expected to be posted to a NATO anti-ballistic team stationed in Germany.

A document on the deployment of the radar system in Turkish territory has been signed by U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone and Turkey’s Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Feridun Sinirlioğlu. Though it’s a NATO project, the memorandum of understanding was signed between Turkey and the U.S. as the radar will be deployed by Washington.

NATO’s new strategic concept, approved last year in Lisbon, calls for the development of an anti-ballistic missile defense system in response to growing threats from Iran and North Korea. Turkey pushed its allies not to single out Iran as the sole threat against NATO and gave its approval to the concept only after its pre-conditions were met. Turkey’s announcement early Friday came hours after the Wall Street Journal broke the news on Ankara’s decision to join the project.

Turkey’s decision to host the radar system caused reaction from Iran, who said the system would create tension and lead to “complicated consequences.”

“We expect friendly countries and neighbors … not to promote policies that create tension, which will definitely have complicated consequences,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in remarks carried by the state television website.
Romania sign missile deal

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meanwhile on Tuesday signed an agreement to base anti-missile interceptors in Romania under the same NATO missile defense plan that has angered Russia. Clinton signed the agreement with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi and said the U.S. expected to deploy the interceptor missiles at a Romanian air force base in approximately four years.

U.S. President Barack Obama also on Tuesday held unscheduled talks with Romania’s President Traian Basescu, to seal the newly signed accord.

Russia has agreed to cooperate on the initiative but disagrees over its implementation, saying it should be a single integrated shield rather than two separate defense systems. The U.S. originally planned to install its anti-missile shield in Poland and neighboring Czech Republic, aimed at countering Iran. But that plan, which angered Russia after it saw itself as the target for the shield system, was scrapped by Obama in September 2009.

September 14, 2011
SOURCE: Hürriyet Daily News

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