Ankara: An early warning radar will be
stationed in Turkey`s southeast as part of NATO`s missile
defence system, the foreign ministry announced on Thursday.
The system is capable of countering ballistic missile
threats from Turkey`s neighbour Iran, which last week warned
Turkey that deployment of the radar at the military
installation would escalate regional tensions.
Turkey insists the shield is not targeting a particular
country and the ministry statement made no mention of Iran.
Turkey agreed to host the radar in September in the
framework of the NATO missile defence architecture, saying it
would strengthen both its own and NATO`s defence capacities.
"In this context, the site surveys and relevant legal
arrangements have also been finalised, and accordingly a
military installation in Kurecik has been designated as the
radar site," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Selcuk Unal said.
"That installation was used in the past for similar
purposes." Kurecik in Malatya province lies some 700
kilometres west of the Iranian border.
In September, Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan said the
United States hopes to have the radar deployed there by the
end of the year.
Turkey`s announcement came a day after Romania signed a
deal to host a crucial part of a US missile defense system
that Romania`s President Traian Basescu said would bolster
security in the US and Europe. Basescu announced the deal
after meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington.
NATO members agreed to an anti-missile system over Europe
to protect against Iranian ballistic missiles at a summit in
Lisbon, Portugal, last year. A compromise not to pinpoint Iran
was reached with Turkey, which had threatened to block the
deal if its neighbour was explicitly named as a threat.