Turkey Agrees to Host NATO Radar System

Posted September 2nd, 2011 at 4:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Turkey has agreed to deploy an early warning radar system by the end of the year as part of NATO's missile defense program for Europe. It is aimed at countering the threat of missile attacks from Iran.

Turkish military officials said Friday the technical negotiations of the deployment of the defense system in Turkey have reached the final stages.

In Washington, the Pentagon welcomed Turkey's decision to take part in the project, which will initially rely on American naval ships equipped to knock out incoming missiles. The U.S. State Department echoed that sentiment, saying the United States is committed to working with its allies to defend against the threat of ballistic missiles.

The 28-member NATO alliance endorsed plans for an anti-missile system to protect Europe against Iranian ballistic missiles at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, last year.

While admitting that NATO's radar system in Turkey would not threaten Russian security directly, the Kremlin has expressed its displeasure with the arrangement because it will not be allowed to participate in the joint NATO program.

Russia also opposes the planned system because Moscow says it believes it could threaten its own nuclear missiles or undermine their deterrence capability.