All six – two, from the US, two from the Netherlands and two from Germany – should be ready for operation by the end of this month.
In December, Turkey said it badly needed them to protect itself against possible aerial incursions from Syria.
Part of the NATO Patriot anti-missile complexes, which were requested by Ankara from the Alliance, has already arrived in Turkey. They are planned to be deployed near the border with Syria, ostensibly to protect Turkey against possible missile attacks from the Syrian side.
Anti-missile complexes will be also located in the southeastern province of Kahramanmarash. Contrary to the authorities’ assertions that Patriots will only carry out defensive tasks, locals have serious concerns about their safety.
“We strongly object to the deployment of the NATO military facilities in the territory of Turkey since this exacerbates our relations with our neighbors, which were at an excellent level only 10 years ago. We went through that in 1991, when the missiles were deployed in Incirlik. Then, too, it was asserted that they were destined exclusively for defensive purposes. However, this did not prevent full-scale and unreasonable bombings of Iraq”, Esat Shengul, head of the regional branch of the main opposition Republican People's Party said to the Voice of Russia.
In his opinion, the deployment of Patriots is part of the American Great Middle East project, aimed at providing free access to energy resources.
Head of the local branch of the Nationalist Movement Party Mustafa Bastirmaji agrees with Shengul. “The West is trying to cause a clash between the peoples of the region. Moreover, it tries to unleash a Sunni-Shiite war in the region. Elements of such a confrontation are already evident in Syria. Later Iran’s turn will come. And it is scary to imagine what will happen then. We do not want it”, the politician stated in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
Turks have rallied against the NATO deployment of Patriot missiles on the country’s soil, media report.
Some 150 leftists and right-wing activists lit smoke bombs and burned an American flag outside the port area as dozens of camouflaged German military vehicles carrying Patriot batteries were offloaded in Iskenderun.
Another rally in downtown Iskenderun later gathered thousands of anti-NATO protesters, who chanted "Yankee go home!" and "Murderer America, get out of the Middle East!"
Some protesters said the root of evil was the “collaborationist government,” and not Syria. Riot police arrested several demonstrators.
Voice of Russia, TASS, RBC