Netherlands, Germany may send missiles to Turkey: report

AMSTERDAM Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:18pm EST

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands and Germany may send Patriot missiles to NATO ally Turkey to help defend the country's border with Syria, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Sunday, citing the Dutch defense minister.

Turkey has said it has intensified talks with NATO allies on how to shore up security on its 900-km (560-mile) frontier with Syria after mortar rounds fired from Syria landed inside its territory.

"NATO does not exist for nothing," ANP quoted Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert as saying.

A Dutch Defense Ministry spokesman said: "There is no request but the Netherlands and Germany are the only countries in Europe with Patriots."

The Dutch minister spoke to her German counterpart last week about a possible deployment, ANP said.

A spokesman for Germany's Defense Ministry said on Saturday NATO would consider any request from Turkey and confirmed that the United States, the Netherlands and Germany were the countries that had the appropriate Patriot missiles available.

Turkey will formally ask NATO on Monday to set up missiles on its border with Syria due to growing concern about spillover from the civil war in its neighbor, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Saturday.

NATO has said it will do what it takes to protect and defend Turkey. Turkey has said it is talking to its NATO allies about a possible deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles.

NATO ambassadors would have to consider any request from Turkey and they have a regular weekly meeting on Wednesday but they could call a special one at any time. European Union defense and foreign ministers will be in Brussels on Monday for meetings.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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