Turkey is to make an imminent official request to NATO to station Patriot missiles along its border with Syria, a senior Turkish foreign ministry official said on Wednesday.
NATO-member Turkey has already bolstered its own military presence along the 910-km (560-mile) border and has been responding in kind to gunfire and mortar shells hitting its territory from fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian government forces.
“This issue (Patriots) is also coming up on the agenda within the framework of deliberations, preparations and contingency planning on the security of Turkey and NATO territories,” foreign ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal told AFP.
The official said there was a potential missile threat to Turkey from Syria and that Turkey had a right to take steps to counter such a threat. He gave no further details.
“The deployment of these type of missiles as a step to counter threats is routine under NATO regulations,” an official said, adding that they had been deployed in Turkey during the second Gulf War.
A NATO spokeswoman in Brussels said: “We haven’t received a request. As the Secretary-General said on Monday, the allies will consider any request that is brought to the North Atlantic Council.”