Turks against extra defense
ANTAKYA, Turkey — As American troops arrive in Turkey and prepare to man Patriot anti-missile batteries along the Syrian border, some of the people who will be under their protection say the extra line of defense is not needed
Some say the presence of foreign forces could pull their country into the war next door.
“We don't need this thing between us and our neighbors,” said Ali Yilmaz, 49, who works in a cell phone shop in this town that's heavily Alawite, the same religious sect as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “It's wrong. It's only going to cause problems.”
Other Turks expect the missile-blasting defense system — organized and overseen by NATO because of a request from the Turkish government last year — to protect them from missiles that occasionally stray across the border or from a direct attack. But they ask why the same level of protection isn't being extended to those living inside Syria.
“A lot of children and women are getting killed,” said Mehmet Kamil Dervisoglu, 37, who works at a hotel in Reyhanli, a heavily Sunni town that's closer to the border and has become a “Little Syria” in recent months. “If we got involved, it would be an army against an army. But an army against women and children?”
About 400 troops are being airlifted from Oklahoma to Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey. The first wave of troops and supplies arrived on Friday, with more coming in days, according to the U.S. European Command.
Eventually, the troops will man two Patriot batteries in Gaziantep, a Turkish town about 30 miles from the border. Germany and the Netherlands will supply two batteries each, to be stationed in other towns along the border.
The batteries are designed to spot and intercept missiles. Once in place later this month, all six will operate under NATO command. The mission is “defensive only” and aims to deter threats to Turkey, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Blair to quit post as U.N. special Middle East envoy
- Nuclear talks bog down as Iran team balks at key decisions, envoys say
- Eiffel Tower temporarily shut down as employees walk out
- Dozens dead in gunfight on Mexico ranch
- Women’s walk across Koreas’ DMZ denied; they cross by bus
- Saudi King Salman vows retribution for suicide attack on mosque
- Conservative populist Duda becomes Poland’s president
- Iraqi militias begin move on Ramadi
- Relentless heat wave kills more than 1,000 in India
- Rocket fired from Gaza Strip strikes Israeli port