Tuesday, January 17, 2012

NATO launches radar system in Turkey

Source: Press TV

An early warning radar station, part of NATO's missile defense system, has become operational in eastern Turkey, Press TV reports.

The radar system was mounted on vehicles as a mobile system in a military base in the Kurecik area in the eastern province of Malatya on Monday, and will be fixed later as a stationary system in the base, Aydinlik newspaper reported.

The X-band AN/TPY-2 early warning radar is part of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system designed to intercept medium-range missiles at very high altitudes.

About 80 US personnel will be deployed in the Turkish base to run the radar system.

Some 40 to 50 tents have been reportedly set up in the military base in Kurecik for the personnel tasked with running the detection system.

Meanwhile, Turkish people from across the Malatya Province staged a protest rally in front of the military base on Saturday to voice their opposition to Turkey's decision to host the US-made radar.

On September 2, 2011, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal announced the country's decision to host a missile shield developed by the United States for NATO, on its territory.

Turkish anti-NATO activists and opposition parties have challenged the government's decision, saying the move would serve the interests of Israel.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said that the missile system is not against any country; however, commentators believe Turkey faces no missile threat from its neighbors, and did not need to accept the system.

Earlier last week, Iran criticized Turkey for harboring a NATO missile system on its soil, calling on the Ankara government to scrap the planned system.

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