German government decides to extend Patriot deployment in Turkey

Patriot_missile_launch_bThe German government decided on Wednesday to extend deployment of the Patriot missiles in Turkey, as part of a NATO mission to protect the country against possible threats from neighboring Syria.

The government’s decision foresees the mission will continue until 31 January 2015, with the possibility of further extension. The mission will involve up to 400 troops from the German military, the Bundeswehr.

Following Wednesday’s decision, the German government will seek authorization this month by the Federal Parliament, the Bundestag. Passage looks assured as Merkel’s conservative-left coalition government sworn in last month enjoys an overwhelming parliamentary majority.

Germany’s previous conservative-liberal coalition government had decided in December 2012 to station two Patriot batteries in Turkey, following a request by Ankara and a decision by NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Germany’s Federal Parliament authorized the deployment on December 14, while setting a 31 January 2014 deadline for the mission.

The Patriot batteries provided by Germany have been stationed in Kahramanmaras since January 2013 and they have been operating under the command and control of NATO. The mission involves up to 400 troops from the German military. The cost of the deployment, which is estimated to be around 25 million euros, is covered by Germany.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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