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Turkey mulls Patriot missiles on border

Nov. 8, 2012 at 6:51 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Turkey is mulling the deployment of Patriot missiles along its southern border with Syria and may submit an official request to NATO, officials said.

"This issue is also coming up on the agenda within the framework of deliberations, preparations and contingency planning on the security of Turkey and NATO territories," a diplomatic source told Thursday's edition of Today's Zaman, without elaborating.

Such a move would create an effective no-fly zone in the area, safeguard refugees and allow Syrian rebels to fight in areas without fearing airstrikes, The New York Times said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday that NATO is prepared to deploy Patriot missiles along its border to serve as a defensive shield, the Turkish daily said.

Hours later Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said no request for missile deployment has been made to NATO.

"There has been no such request," he said during a visit to Indonesia.

Such an initiative must first be approved by him and not through the Foreign Ministry, the paper quoted Erdogan saying.

The Turkish daily Milliyet said Turkey had agreed with the U.S. administration on a plan to use the missiles to create safe zones in Syria.

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