Turkey agrees to host early warning radar as part of NATO missile shield

US President Barack Obama (L) talks with Turkey's President Abdullah Gül (R) as they arrive for a family photo at the NATO summit in Lisbon in November 2010. Photo: Reuters

September 02, 2011, Friday/ 10:04:00

Turkey says it has reached agreement on the deployment of a radar on its territory as part of NATO's missile defense system.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued late Thursday that discussions "have reach their final stages."

NATO members agreed to an anti-missile system over Europe to protect against Iranian ballistic missiles at a summit in Lisbon last year. A compromise was reached with Turkey, which has cultivated close ties with its neighbor Iran and had threatened to block the deal if Iran is explicitly named as a threat.

At the NATO summit of heads of state and government in Lisbon last year, Turkey formally backed NATO plans to build a missile defense system, saying it will also contribute to national defense against the growing threat of ballistic missile proliferation.

The summit came after months of discussions between Turkey and the US, in particular over some aspects of the proposed shield, most notably whether countries such as Turkey's neighbors Iran and Syria should be named as potential threats. Ankara insisted that the proposed system should provide protection for all territories of member states and that reference to any country would undermine the defensive nature of the shield by antagonizing countries singled out as a threat. The Turkish insistence paid off in the end as the NATO summit endorsed the missile defense system plans without naming any country as a potential threat.

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