Dutch parliament approves Patriot deployment to Turkey

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Dutch Parliament has overwhelmingly approved the deployment of two Patriot missile systems and several hundred Dutch troops in Turkey as part of NATO’s plan to send defensive reinforcements to the Turkish-Syrian border.

In an eight-hour parliamentary session Thursday night, Dutch coalition partners Liberal Party (VVD) and Labor Party (PvdA), opposition Democrats 66 (D66), the Christian Democratic Union (CDA), Christian Union (CU), Green Left (GL) and Reformist State Party (SGP) voted in favor of the decision.

The extreme right party of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, the Freedom Party (PVV) and Socialist Party (SP) opposed the deployment. Thanking parliamentarians for their support, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said the Patriot missiles’ sole duty is to defend Turkey and the Turkish people. The cost of some 360 Dutch troops who will be deployed to Turkey will be 42 million euros for one year. Two Dutch missile systems, along with at most 360 soldiers, are expected to be deployed in the southern Turkish province of Adana by the end of January. Along with the Netherlands, the United States and Germany, the other two NATO members with the most advanced type of Patriot missiles, have also agreed to send missiles to protect ally Turkey. The United States and Germany have each pledged to send two Patriot batteries as part of the NATO deployment. Each battery reportedly has four to six missile launchers and each launcher has the capacity to launch 16 missiles. A total of six missile batteries would be able to launch at least 500 missiles in response to attacks.

With some hundreds of soldiers needed to operate each battery, the number of US, Dutch and German soldiers to be deployed in Turkey is expected to be more than 2,000. The cost of transportation and operation of the systems is expected to be met by the countries supplying Patriots to Turkey. Turkey, for its part, will meet the cost of the accommodation, food and local transport of the foreign soldiers to be based in Turkey to operate the Patriot missile systems.

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