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Opposition demand vote on missiles for Turkey

Published: 19 Nov 2012 11:48 GMT+01:00

Turkey is expected to officially ask for NATO support to defend its border with Syria, after rocket attacks associated with the Syrian civil war killed five Turkish civilians.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have crossed the border to escape the fighting, stretching Turkish facilities to the limit. And last week NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance was prepared to assist Turkey in case the Syrian conflict encroached on its borders.

A report at the weekend suggested that Germany was prepared to contribute 170 troops along with two batteries of Patriot air defence missiles, as part of a NATO support force.

German Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière said on Monday he was expecting the request before the end of the day, and would be minded to agree.

Germany, he said, had been "the main benefactor of the alliance's solidarity." He added that if, "now, an alliance partner asks us for such a thing, it is clear to us that we would regard that openly and with solidarity."

But Social Democratic (SPD) parliamentary party leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Monday that he would demand a parliamentary vote for any deployment. The Green Party said it would want to see a United Nations mandate before any troops were sent there.

Thomas Oppermann, the SPD parliamentary party manager said it was not clear that Turkey's borders were actually under threat, which would activate NATO mutual defence promises.

"I do not see that yet," he told public broadcaster ARD's Morgenmagazin news show on Monday. He also warned of what he called a "hooray mentality", and said that international legal security such as a UN mandate might also be necessary. "This is about an act of war," he said.

Green security expert Omid Nouripour told the Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper he wanted to see parliament take as many measures as possible to prevent Germany sliding into an illegal war in Syria.

He said that having refused to help in the Libyan conflict, Germany did not have the international credit left to refuse to take part in the Turkey-Syrian crisis. And he said the Patriot missiles might well be poorly suited to the border, saying that Syrian attacks had largely been with mortars, against which the missiles would not work.

He said the Patriots were offensive rather than defensive weapons, and would in the worst case, "very quickly make Germany party to war."

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Your comments about this article

18:14 November 19, 2012 by sonriete
I think a very good way to dispel the appearance of Germany taking sides in the Syrian civil war would be for both German troops and Russian troops to take up positions side by side on the Turkish border.

Since they are supporting opposite sides within Syria it would then would be clear the troop movements would be purely in defense of Turkish sovreignity and in no way supportive of democracy or dictatorship or securlarlism or Islamization in Syria itself.

If that were the case I could not imagine any problem securing Security Council approval of such a move.

The Defense Minister misspoke when he decribed Germany as the main benefactor of NATO solidarity, I'm guessing he meant to say main beneficiary.
18:21 November 19, 2012 by raandy
Turkey is a member of NATO as is Germany, there should be no hesitation in helping Turkey with air defense to protect it's citizens.
18:55 November 19, 2012 by sonriete
of course any NATO member is entitled to solidarity from fellow members, for instance when Bin Laden attacked the Americans from Afganistan all other members rightly stepped up.

I think Turkey is a uncomfortable situation though, because of the increadibly provocative statements and actions of the Ergodan government in openly calling for the violent overthrow of the government of their neighbor, brazenly allowing the rebels to set up bases right on the Syrian border, allowing the flow of arms and all the rest.

Does anyone really think the Syrian government would be acting in any hostile way toward Turkey if all this had not preceded it?

The question becomes are the Turkish citizens exposed because of the willful actions of their government? In that case a closer look can be taken at the
19:21 November 19, 2012 by raandy
Thats all politics, there should be no doubt that humanitarian aid should be forth coming, from your ally and neighbor.
19:50 November 19, 2012 by sonriete
I agree that as much humanitarian aid as possible should be provided to the suffering Syrian people.

But hosting armed rebels on your neighbors border and facilitating the delivery of arms and allowing those rebels safe passage back and forth to fight and openly calling for your neighbors government to be violently overthrown is a lot more than politics.

In my eyes that is getting very close to outright war, NATO is a defensive alliance, not an offensive one, if you chose to support the overthrow of your neighbor, I'm not sure the principle of an attack on one is an attack on all should apply.
04:07 November 20, 2012 by marimay
The flow of arms into syria and rebel bases on the Turkish border likely wouldn't exist if it weren't for the US and other western governments insisting that it be so. That is why it is stupid that Germany is holding back on helping Turkey with some missiles.
07:39 November 20, 2012 by wenddiver
A collective response to position troops to protect the soverignty of Turkey by the NATO alliance should be more than enough stick to convince the Assad Government to keep it's ordance on it's side of the Border. The thought of US Air Power over achieving the target on all your expensive war toys has traditionally been enough to wake upall but the nastiest and craziest Dictators, which I certainly don't believe Mr. Assad is.

We should however let Mr. Erdagan know that we are coming to aid his Country and our allies the secular Turkish military and not his religously basedpolitical party.
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