German military vehicles carrying equipment for NATO’s Patriot missiles unload at Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, January 21, 2013.
NATO’s Patriot missile batteries shipped to Turkey are set to be deployed in military bases in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir and Batman.
Some 100 Patriot missiles, unloaded at Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Iskenderun earlier in January, will be stationed at the air bases in the two provinces bordering Syria.
Some 360 Dutch troops stationed in Incirlik Air Base near the southern city of Adana and led by Colonel Erik Abma will operate the batteries.
The NATO missile systems are slated to remain in Turkey for a six-month period, which the military alliance may extend.
Meanwhile, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft have been deployed to the Konya 3rd Main Jet Base Command.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said at least three US-made Predator drones will be deployed to guard NATO’s radar base in the village of Kurecik in Malatya Province.
The NATO military alliance approved a request by Turkey for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles along the border region with Syria on December 4, 2012.
The Turkish people have held several protest demonstrations against the military plan. The Syrian government has also censured the move, calling it another act of provocation from Ankara.