maandag 10 december 2012

Netherlands sends Patriot units to Turkey (Gov't news release)

The Cabinet has decided to send two Dutch Patriot units to Turkey to help protect the Netherlands’ NATO ally from possible attacks from Syria. The House of Representatives has been informed of the decision.

The Dutch Patriot missile defence systems will be deployed to protect Turkey’s territory and people. Their exact location will be decided in consultation with Turkey, the US and Germany. Deployment will in principle last a year, be purely defensive and not be used in support of a no-fly zone or offensive operation. No more than 360 military personnel will be posted abroad for the deployment. NATO acceded earlier this week to the Turkish government’s request for assistance.

The Netherlands, Germany and the US are the only NATO countries with Patriots that meet the required standard. The Patriot units have been deployed twice on previous occasions on NATO’s southern flank and once in Israel. During the Gulf War in 1991 Patriot systems protected the cities of Diyarbakir in Turkey and Jerusalem in Israel against possible Iraqi SCUD missile attacks. During the 2003 Gulf War the Patriots once more provided protection against possible Iraqi SCUD missile attacks for the area around the Turkish cities of Diyarbakir and Batman.

On 21 November the Turkish government submitted a request to NATO for the deployment of Patriot systems to protect Turkey’s territory and people from possible attacks from Syria. NATO’s 28 foreign ministers decided in Brussels on 4 December to strengthen the Turkish air defence capabilities within the existing NATO framework, to the extent permitted by national decision-making procedures.

The Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Turkey and the allies with Patriot systems (the Netherlands, the US and Germany) explored the feasibility and advisability of deploying them. On the basis of the outcome of these investigations, the Dutch government has decided to help honour the Turkish request. The Netherlands shares the Turkish government’s concerns, and is responding to the Turkish request as an ally in a spirit of solidarity, pursuant to the right of collective self-defence laid down in article 51 of the UN Charter. The Dutch deployment of Patriot systems is aimed at protecting the territory and people of the Netherlands’ NATO ally and helping de-escalate the crisis along the Alliance’s southern borders.

(Government.nl, 10 December 2012)

Note: This news release of the Dutch government fails to mention crucial elements contained in its Letter to Parliament of 7 December 2012 ('Kamerbrief ontplooiing van Patriot-systemen in Turkije'). First of all: the government wrote that the Netherlands and its two partners in this deployment will each protect 'an urban area' (read: city) using two Patriot batteries per city. Secondly, the Letter stresses that the Patriot units will be deployed at locations away from the Turkish-Syrian border, to the effect that: 'Het effectieve bereik van de Nederlandse Patriot-raketten is beperkt tot Turks grondgebied.' (The effective range of the Dutch Patriot missiles is limited to Turkish territory). - HdV

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