Friday, September 16, 2011

Turkey Joins NATO Missile Defense Shield

“The final legal and diplomatic building blocks fell into place this week for the Obama administration’s rejiggered defense of Europe against a potential Iranian missile attack. Romania signed a deal for 24 interceptor missiles to be based there, and Turkey officially agreed to have in its territory a sophisticated American radar system that could be on the watch by the end of the year.
American officials called the deal with Turkey the most significant military cooperation between Washington and Ankara since 2003, when Turkish officials infuriated their American counterparts by refusing to allow an armored division to cross Turkish territory to join the invasion of Iraq.”
“This is probably the biggest strategic decision between the United States and Turkey in the past 15 or 20 years,” one senior administration official said on Thursday at a White House briefing meant to call attention to the developments.
Turkish officials were careful in their comments to avoid identifying Iran as the specific threat motivating their decision to join NATO’s American-designed missile shield. But Turkey is worried by Iran’s evolving missile capabilities and by signs that Tehran has secretly supported the bloody crackdown on protesters in Syria. (Iran crushed its own pro-democracy demonstrations in 2009.)”

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