ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey is to make an imminent official request to NATO to station Patriot missiles along its border with Syria, a senior Turkish foreign ministry official said on Wednesday.
NATO-member Turkey has already bolstered its own military presence along the 910-km (560-mile) border and has been responding in kind to gunfire and mortar shells hitting its territory from fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian government forces.
“Concerning this topic (Patriot missiles), an imminent official request is to be made,” the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The official said there was a potential missile threat to Turkey from Syria and that Turkey had a right to take steps to counter such a threat. He gave no further details.
“The deployment of these type of missiles as a step to counter threats is routine under NATO regulations,” the official said, adding that they had been deployed in Turkey during the second Gulf War.
A NATO spokeswoman in Brussels said: “We haven’t received a request. As the Secretary-General said on Monday, the allies will consider any request that is brought to the North Atlantic Council.”
Reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Jonathon Burch; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Pravin Char