US Renews Patriot Deployment in Turkey

The Defense Department announced it would continue the contribution of two Patriot missile batteries under NATO command in Southern Turkey for an additional year. The announcement follows high-level discussions between Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Nov. 18. Earlier this month, the NATO ally requested the alliance continue to augment its air defenses. The US, Dutch, and the Germans have deployed assets to the country since late 2012, when cross border shelling occurred from Syria. “The United States is committed to maintaining regional security,” DOD spokesman Carl Woog said in a readout following the pair’s meeting in Washington. The renewal of the Patriot deployment will remain defensive and represents a concrete demonstration of alliance solidarity, he added. Rotation of the batteries is already under way, reported the Hurriyet Daily News, which cited military statements from the Turkish military. The battery stationed in the province of Gaziantep is being replaced with a new battery equipment, which arrived in Turkey by ship on Nov. 10. In addition to Gaziantep, Patriot batteries are employed in the Turkish provinces of Adana and Kahramanmaras.