Turkey mulls missile defense shield

Nov. 9, 2012 at 10:24 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A Turkish defense official said Ankara aims to secure a deal to develop a long-range air defense system within the next year.

Murad Bayar, undersecretary for the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries in Turkey, said the government looks to secure an air defense system said to be worth $4 billion, Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman reports.

Bayar said air-defense systems could begin domestic construction by 2015 after national tenders are announced.

"We will request the company awarded the tender to urgently send several long-range missiles to Turkey within the next year," he was quoted as saying.

Bayar said systems being considered include the Russian S-400, China's HQ-9 and the U.S. Patriot system for national defense projects. The military, he said, aims to acquire 13 missile batteries and 72 missiles.

The Turkish daily this week reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said NATO is prepared to deploy Patriot missiles along its border with Syria to serve as a defensive shield.

Turkish military forces have responded to mortar fire coming from Syria. CNN cites Turkish Foreign Ministry officials stating that more than 8,000 refugees reached Turkey Friday from Syria "because of fierce fighting" along the border.

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