Patriot missiles in Turkey 'for defence only'

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Patriot missiles in Turkey 'for defence only'

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Germany and the Netherlands insist that the Patriot missile batteries they have sent to Turkey are for defence purposes only.

The Turkish government requested help to bolster its air defences against possible missile attack from neighbouring Syria.

German Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière and his Dutch counterpart Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert inspected the Patriots during a visit to the Incirlik military base in southern Turkey.

Dutch Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said, “We are here together to protect Turkish territory and Turkish people. We don’t know whether Syria is going to move on towards our NATO border, but part of the reason we are here is to downsize the risk of escalation.”

The Patriots, which are capable of shooting down missiles in mid-air, are being stationed at three points along the Turkey-Syria border.

Germany and the Netherlands, along with United States, have sent two batteries each and up to 400 soldiers to operate them.

Syria has called the deployment “provocative”.