ANKARA, November 23 (Itar-Tass) — Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called erroneous Russia’s stance on the deployment of Patriot missile systems on the Turkish-Syrian border. According to the prime minister, Ankara believes there are no grounds for Moscow’s concern about plans to strengthen defensive capacities of the country.
“I consider statements made by Russia strongly erroneous. It is incorrect to mistake the domestic Turkish issue that has no relation (to Russia) for its own problem. The situation is such that the missiles are deployed for the aims of defence,” Erdogan said.
The Anka news agency quotes the head of the parliamentary commission for foreign affairs Volkan Bozkir as reiterating that stance. “It is not for the first time that (missile) systems are deployed in Turkey, this was done twice earlier. Patriot systems will fulfil solely defensive tasks there. It was stated in the request (of Turkey to NATO) that missiles will not be used for offensive aims,” the parliamentarian said.
According to him, these missile systems will give an opportunity “to protect citizens of Turkey and rule out damage for the territory of the republic”.
Judging by Foreign Ministry statements, Ankara has discussed with NATO the issue of missile deployment since summer. The need for missiles was substantiated by the fact that during fights in Syria shells and missiles fly into the Turkish territory across the border. Some observers believe that Patriots will be the first step towards the issue of organizing a ‘security zone’ on the Turkish-Syrian border.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier that “militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is an alarming signal”.