13 November 2012
President Abdullah Gül has expressed his country's concerns about the possibility of Damascus using chemical weapons against Turkey in an interview with The Financial Times, mentioning Patriot missiles as a deterrent solution against such a threat.
It is known that Syria has chemical weapons and they have old Soviet delivery systems, so if there is in some eventuality some sort of madness in this respect and some action is taken, contingency planning has to be put in place and this is something NATO is doing, he said.
Gül said they could not tolerate any Syrian shells hitting Turkish soil, even if unintentional, and that Turkey had responded in the necessary manner.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had stated that the alliance would take the necessary steps to protect Turkey. But Gül's words were interpreted by The Financial Times as signs that Turkey might go further.
The Turkish president also commented about the rising number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, saying that there were currently as many as 150,000 - higher than the official figure of just over 100,000 registered refugees. Gül said a further increase may cause a security risk for Ankara.