Turkish protesters have attacked German troops stationed in the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun to operate NATO’s Patriot missiles.
Members of the Turkish Youth Union (TGB), affiliated to the Turkey Workers’ Party, attacked the soldiers in the center of the city on Tuesday and tried to put sacks on their heads.
Turkish media quoted Iskendurun Prosecutors Office as saying that 14 activists have been arrested and 28 others charged with intentionally attempting to cause harm.
Also on Tuesday, Turkish protesters staged a rally in the capital Ankara to voice opposition to the deployment of NATO’s missile system and the presence of foreign troops in the country.
Over the past days, similar protests have been held in front of the German and US embassies.
German and Dutch missile batteries, as part of NATO’s mission, arrived in Turkey on Monday. The surface-to-air missiles will be deployed near the border with Syria.
The United States, another contributor to the NATO mission, has also begun deployment of two Patriot missile batteries at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey’s southeast.
Russia has frequently expressed opposition to the deployment of the missiles in Turkey, which Ankara claims is aimed to deterring any threat emanating from its southern neighbor, Syria.
Moscow says the threats facing Ankara have been exaggerated in order to justify NATO’s deployment of the advanced missiles along the Syrian border, adding that the measure would increase the “risk that these arms will be used.”
- Turkish police arrest anti-Patriot missile protesters (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Anti-Patriot protesters gather in front of German Embassy in Ankara (presstv.ir)
Turkish people protest the arrival of NATO’s Patriot missiles in the country. (File photo)
Turkish police have arrested dozens of protesters who condemned the arrival of NATO’s Patriot surface-to-air missiles to be deployed near the border with Syria.
Police arrested 25 protesters on Monday after they tried to get through the barricades at Incirlik Air Force Base in the city of Adana, where US troops are assembling two Patriot missile batteries to be later deployed in Gaziantep near Syria’s border.
Protests were also held in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara outside the US embassy, where angry protesters condemned what they called Ankara’s interventionist policies towards Syria.
Earlier, two ships carrying two Patriot batteries each from Germany and the Netherlands anchored at the southwestern port of Iskenderun in Turkey, as part of a NATO-authorized operation to deploy the advanced armament along the border region.
The six batteries of the US-made missiles, effective against aircraft and short-range missiles, will be deployed in the southern city of Adana and the southeastern cities of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, along with 350 troops from each contributing country.
In December 2012, NATO approved Turkey’s request for the deployment of the Patriots in its territory. Germany’s Bundestag parliament approved the deployment – limited to one year – on December 14, 2012.
Each Patriot battery has an average of 12 missile launchers. NATO says the missile systems will be operational by early February.
Syria has censured the Turkish plan to deploy the Patriots along its border, calling it another act of provocation by the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.