Sunday, January 06, 2013

Anti-NATO Protests Held In Turkey

Turkey protest says no to NATO missiles

Sun Jan 6, 2013 9:37PM GMT

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Turkey to protest the plan to deploy advanced NATO Patriot missiles near the Syrian border.

The demonstration was held on Sunday in the southeastern city of Gaziantep, one of the three cities where the missile batteries are expected to be deployed. The other two cities are Kahramanmaras and Adana.

The demonstrators chanted slogans against the presence of foreign forces in their city, and voiced strong disapproval of the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The US and Germany will provide two Patriot batteries and 400 troopers each to man the missiles. The Netherlands will also dispatch 360 forces and the other two batteries.

According to a NATO official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Western alliance’s regulations do not allow him to speak on record, each Patriot battery has an average of 12 missile launchers.

Some of the troopers have already arrived in Turkey, but the missiles will be deployed and fully functional by the end of January.

The deputy chief of the US European Command, Navy Vice Admiral Charles Martoglio stated that the Patriots are not meant for “any offensive operation” in Syria.

Damascus has censured Ankara’s plan to host the Patriot missiles along the Syrian border, calling it another act of provocation by the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan against Syria.

The Syrian unrest began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of army And security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.

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