Germany withdraws Patriot missile defense systems from Turkey
The Patriot complexes were loaded on a Danish ship which left the Turkish port of Iskenderun on Tuesday, bound for Germany.
Back in January 2013, six NATO Patriot complexes – two units from each of Germany, the Netherlands and the US – were delivered to Turkey to guard the border with Syria, in a move Damascus officials linked with plans to establish a no-fly zone along the Turkish-Syrian border.
In September 2014 the Dutch Patriot systems were replaced with Spanish ones.
In mid-August 2014 the German Defense Ministry announced it was to end its border protection mission in Turkey and remove its missile defense batteries from the country.
Germany cited a “low ballistic missile threat,” as well as the “high costs of the mission” as reasons for the pullout.
A month before that, however, German media reported the nation’s Patriot air and missile defense systems stationed in Turkey had been carrying out “unexplained” commands allegedly issued by unknown hackers – a message later rebutted by Berlin.
In October 2015 the US Department of Defense made a statement it would not be renewing its Patriot defense system in Turkey once its mandate expired in October. The air defense missile units were assigned to be shipped back to the US for upgrades.
Although both American and German Patriot missile batteries have now been withdrawn from Turkey, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week that Spanish Patriots will stay in Turkey for one more year.
Stoltenberg also said recently that NATO is seeking to deploy more aircraft and command ships to Turkey in order to boost the country’s defense capabilities, following the incident with the Russian Su-24 bomber downed by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet in Syrian airspace on November 24.
The British Royal Air Force (RAF) is expected to deploy additional military aircraft to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base in Adana, while German Tornado jets will arrive to Incirlik to conduct
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