Six Patriot batteries, 600 foreign troops to be deployed in Turkey
A member of the Japan self-defence forces stands near Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) land-to-air missiles, deployed at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo December 7, 2012. (Photo: Reuters, ISSEI KATO)
Around 600 troops are expected to accompany six Patriot missile systems to be deployed in Turkey to reinforce the NATO member country's air defenses and calm its fears of coming under missile attack, possibly with chemical weapons, from Syria.
The surface-to-air batteries, which can intercept ballistic missiles, are expected to be transported to Turkey by sea within four or five weeks. The Turkish military bases where they will be deployed have not been ascertained yet.
A team of NATO experts who recently visited Turkey to survey possible sites for the deployment have already submitted their report to Ankara and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
It is speculated that some of the Patriot batteries will be situated at the Erhaç and Kürecik air bases in Malatya as well as in Diyarbakır and that the remaining will be deployed in other military bases near the border.
The team reportedly surveyed sites in Elazığ, Malatya, Diyarbakır, Batman, Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Adana, İskenderun, Mersin and Kahramanmaraş.
Turkey to receive six Patriot batteries
The United States, Germany and the Netherlands, the only three NATO nations with the most advanced type of Patriots, have all agreed to send missiles to protect their ally.
Germany and the Netherlands have each said they will send two Patriot batteries with multiple missile launchers. Parliaments of both countries are expected to convene this week and approve the Patriot deployment in Turkey.
Although it is still not certain, the US is also expected to send two Patriot systems to Turkey, increasing the number of batteries to be deployed in the country to six.
Each battery reportedly has four to six missile launchers and each launcher has the capacity to launch 16 missiles. A total of six missile batteries would be able to launch at least 500 missiles in response to attacks.
With some 100 soldiers needed to operate each battery, the number of US, Dutch and German soldiers to be deployed in Turkey is expected to be around 600.
The cost of transportation and operation of the systems is expected to be met by the countries supplying Patriots to Turkey. Turkey, for its part, will meet the cost of the accommodation, food and local transport of the foreign soldiers to be based in Turkey to operate the Patriot missile systems.