BRUSSELS — NATO says it has picked three sites in southern Turkey to base batteries of Patriot surface-to-air missiles intended to boost the nation’s air defenses against possible spillover from Syria.
Germany, the Netherlands and the United States will provide two batteries each of an advanced version of the Patriot optimized to shoot down incoming missiles. More than 1,000 troops from the three nations will service the batteries.
Spokeswoman Oana Lungescu reiterated in a statement Saturday that the deployment will be purely defensive and will not support a no-fly zone inside Syria.
The Germans will be based unit at Kahramanmaras, located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of the Syrian border; the Dutch at Adana, about 100 kilometers (66 miles) west; and the Americans at Gaziantep, about 50 kilometers north.
Earlier Saturday, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi warned that NATO Patriot missile batteries deployed along the Turkey-Syria border will harm Turkish security.
Vahidi was quoted by the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency saying, “The installation of Patriot missiles in Turkey plays no role in establishing Turkey’s security and this harms the country of Turkey.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi earlier this week also condemned what it called Turkey’s provocative deployment of Patriot batteries. “It is believed here that stationing these missiles in Turkey is an act of provocation, not deterrence,” Salehi reportedly said.