Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

NATO gets minimal cooperation from Turkey

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Despite the expert orchestration of Turkey’s “Plans” over the past month, there has been one befuddling outlier—something that didn’t seem to be in the playbook. And if you read the usual headlines, you may have missed it.

Here’s the usual story:

An early warning radar will be stationed in Turkey’s southeast as part of NATO’s missile defense system, the foreign ministry announced Wednesday. The deployment reflects improving relations with the United States, which were strained after the invasion of Iraq.

The system is capable of countering ballistic missile threats from Turkey’s neighbor Iran, which has warned Turkey that deploying the radar at the military installation will escalate regional tensions. Turkey insists the shield doesn’t target a specific country and the ministry statement didn’t mention Iran.

Turkey agreed to host the radar in September in the framework of the NATO missile defense architecture, saying it would strengthen both its own and NATO’s defense capacities.

But who, exactly, needs the most protection from “ballistic missile threats from […] Iran”?

Tehran says its longest-range missiles, Shahab-3 and Sajjil-2, can travel up to 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometers) — putting Israel …

… safely in Iran’s crosshairs.

And if Iran is going to get its jollies from nuking anyone, it will be Israel—or as Tehran likes to refer to it—the “occupied territories.” So why would Turkey, now vocally anti-Israel, lie down and let NATO build a shield around the offending country? Why would they allow it? It just didn’t seem to fit.

FM Ahmet Davutoğlu

Cue the Professor (from just yesterday):

“It is not possible for the [missile defense] system to be activated or convey information to any other country without notifying Turkey.”

And there’s your answer. See for yourself what he had to say.

The contract for the radar will expire within two years and will be subject to renewal. In the meantime, Turkey can cancel the contract.

At no cost.

Whenever it wants.

Now that’s more like the loud, unruly, Middle-Eastern Turkey we’ve come to expect. Much to NATO’s chagrin, the Cold War is over. Now reconsider this particular sentiment from the first article:

The deployment [of the radar] reflects improving relations with the United States, which were strained after the invasion of Iraq.

“Improving relations” indeed.

Written by M. James

October 6, 2011 at 2:38 am

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