21 December 2012
Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen has spoken to TRT Haber, Turkish national TV channel for news, about Patriot systems’ deployment along the Turkish- Syrian border-line.
Rasmussen has been addressed a number of questions about the exact time and location details of the operation being coordinated by the military crew from Germany, Netherlands and USA. In his answer, secretary stated that all these issues are to be made clear in the wake of the negotiations which will take place between Turkey and NATO. He also added that the details of the operation are aimed to be agreed upon as soon as possible. Upon being asked about the Iranian and Israeli apprehension in terms of regional stability, he disagreed with their positions and added that their cause of concern is not based on good grounds, since the Patriot systems will only serve for defensive purposes. He continued: “Patriots do have a deterrent effect for possible firing of missiles from Syria and it is supposed to ease the tension in the neighbouring states. Here the main point is to ensure the security of Turkish borders and it has nothing to do with Iran.”
Mr. Secretary reminded of his previous condemnation of Russia for its blockage on UN Security Council Resolution which was suggesting a legitimate military intervention in Syria to cease the bloodshed. He said “We did our best to come up with a diplomatic solution and Syrian opposition demands could have been met at the time.”
In response to a question whether Assad regime is coming to end, Rasmussen answered “it is only a matter of time”. “It is impossible that the position in Syria will remain unchanged and it is high time for Assad to give an ear to Syrian people’s demands and let a transition period begin otherwise; no regime will survive despite its own people.” He also underlined that any peaceful solution is urgently required for the Syrian conflict since it is no more a domestic concern but everyday becoming highly risky and dangerous for the neighbouring states as well.
General Secretary highly appreciates Turkey and Turkish Military Forces’ firm standing in the amidst of turmoil by explaining that “Turkey, from the very beginning, has adopted a responsible attitude in the regional affairs, avoiding overreactions and choosing to remain calm and sensible even in the face of aggressions.” Then he openly referred to the previous bombings, the plane crash, and the civilian losses from the Turkish side justifying the need to strengthen Turkish Air Forces.
He stressed that “Turkey is a crucial ally of us partly because of its geo-political importance and this is what all NATO member states agree upon.”
When asked about the on-going war in Afghanistan; Rasmussen stated that “NATO will be ultimately finished with Afghani security matters in 2014; and all the security forces are to be replaced by the local authorities afterwards.”
By Vildan Özkan