26 November 2012
Davutoglu dismissed Russian&Iranian concerns over missile deployment along border with Syria would make the crisis more complicated.
ANKARA -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu dismissed Sunday Russian and Iranian concerns that possible deployment of NATO missiles along Turkey's southern border with Syria would make the crisis more complicated.
"We cannot see any point that would justify these concerns. The missile system has a defensive purpose only. This system will not be operational unless there is a risk to our security. And it is our government's obligation to take any measure when there is even the slightest chance of risk," Davutoglu told a televised interview on private news channel CNN Turk.
Turkey last Wednesday placed a formal request to NATO for the deployment of Patriot missiles along the Syrian border which saw an escalation of tensions between the two neighbors after a stray Syrian shell had landed in Turkey, killing five people.
The United States, Germany and The Netherlands are the only NATO members to have Patriot missiles in their arsenals.
"When the risk against our borders is alleviated Patriots will leave our country," Davutoglu said.
During the Iraq wars of 1991 and 2003, NATO deployed Patriot missiles in Turkey but they were never used.
A team technical team from NATO was expected to visit Turkey on Monday to conduct a site-survey for the possible deployment of the missiles.
Davutoglu rejected answering a question on how many Patriot batteries would be deployed in Turkey, saying, "we are working on a solution that would meet Turkey's security needs while taking into account the capacity in NATO."
Turkish foreign minister says no talks with Israel to normalize ties
Davutoglu said Sunday no formal talks were underway to normalize Turkish-Israeli relations which saw a historic low after Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel in May 2010 in international waters that killed nine Turkish nationals and wounded many others.
"Turkey's demands from Israel are well-known. And when Israel feels ready to meet those demands, Turkey will establish dialogue over appropriate channels. It is out of question that Turkey does any bargaining on this issue," Davutoglu told.
Following a report of an international panel investigating the raid on Mavi Marmara, the Turkish vessel, Turkey reduced its diplomatic relations with Israel to second secretary level, expelling all Israeli diplomats in Turkey. The Turkish government also cancelled military agreements and planned military exercises with Israel.
Davutoglu's remarks were in response to a question on a recent meeting between a senior Turkish diplomat and an aide to the Israeli prime minister.
"That was not a dialogue meeting," he said.