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Sunday, September 4, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Turkey agrees to NATO missile defense radar, sparking concerns in Moscow

ANKARA — Turkey has formally approved the deployment of an early-warning missile defense radar by NATO.


Officials said the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan relayed final approval for a ballistic missile defense radar in Turkey. They said the X-Band radar, identified as the U.S.-origin AN/TPY-2, could arrive in Turkey as part of the NATO umbrella by 2012.

The Turkish announcement sparked concern in Russia, which has opposed BMD assets in Turkey. Russia's envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said he would visit Iran to discuss the missile defense shield.

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"We, in turn, are interested in getting clarification from the Iranian side over its plans to develop missiles which are often referred to with alarm by our U.S. and European partners," Rogozin told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency. "I hope this mission to Teheran will be a fruitful one."

"The deployment of this [missile defense] element in Turkey will constitute our contribution to the defense system being developed within the new NATO [defense] strategy and will strengthen the defense potential of NATO as well as our national defense system," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said.

In a briefing on Sept. 2, Unal said details of the NATO radar deployment were still being discussed, Middle East Newsline reported. The spokesman said the negotiations were in their final stage and focused on technical issues.

Turkey's media have reported that the AN/TPY-2, produced by Raytheon, would be deployed in the southeastern bases of either Adana or Malatya. Reports asserted that the Turkish military has selected a location and was conducting site preparations.

"Our country has supported this decision since the very beginning and actively contributed to the process," Unal said.

The radar was meant to provide early-warning of Iranian ballistic missile launches toward Europe or NATO facilities in the Middle East. Turkey has insisted that Iran was not the target of any BMD system in Turkey.

Officials said negotiations over the radar began in the spring of 2011 and intensified in June. They said Erdogan agreed to the NATO site in an effort to improve relations with the United States.

"This represents a critical contribution to the alliance's overall defense against current and emerging ballistic missile threats," NATO secretary-general Anders Rasmussen said.

"Turkey's decision will significantly contribute to NATO's capability to provide protection to its European territory, populations and forces against the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles."

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