US to Remove Patriot Missiles from Turkey

Photo of author

( — August 17, 2015) Ankara, Turkey — According to a joint statement from the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the United States, US will not renew a ‘Patriot’ defense system contract that expires in October.

The news came shortly after Germany announced it will remove their air defense missile system from Turkey.

“The United States has informed the Turkish government that the US deployment of Patriot air and missile defense units in Turkey which expires in October will not be renewed beyond the end of the current rotation,” according to a message posted by US Embassy on Turkey’s website.

The missiles will be sent back to the US to be upgraded, according to the statement. “This decision follows a US review of global missile defense posture,” the statement reads.

In July, media reported that Germany is worried that their air defense missile system in Turkey may be compromised after engineers found the system executes commands from unknown sources. In August, Germany announced revoking their missile system from Turkey, a day later the US announced that it is pulling their missiles out of Turkey.  

The air defense system NATO allies deployed in Turkey in 2013, has served as a protection from growing threat from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. It is unknown exactly how the threat has decreased, with Northern Syria, which is close to Syria-Turkey border, being occupied by IS (former ISIS or ISIL).

While the Pentagon is using Turkish military bases to air strike IS military in Syria, not renewing the air-defense contract seems like an odd decision. However, the US officials claim that the US will reinstall the system if their NATO allay is in need of it, stressing that Turkey’s safety is still a concern.   The ‘stumbling block’ of disagreement was the role of Turkish military cooperation in the region. While Western allays are focusing on destroying IS in the region, Turkey is using the situation to deal with its political enemy, the Syrian President Bashar’s regime. In addition, Turkey carried out air strikes against Kurdish fighters after they defeated IS, pushing them back from the Turkey border.

At the same time, after failing with supporting rebels in Syria that now fight against the US interest in the region, the Pentagon decided to train “moderate” rebels in Syria, who are currently fighting both Assad and jihadist groups like IS. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that there are no “moderate” fighting groups in Syria, and that in reality, any group that seizes power by military force, would be in fact made of Islamic terrorists.