US Pulling Patriot Batteries From Turkey

The US will pull its Patriot air and missile defense batteries out of Turkey this October when the current rotation is completed, a joint US-Turkish statement released by the US Embassy Aug. 16 declares. The missile defense units first deployed to southern T?urkey in January 2013 to support the NATO Patriot deployment mission, but the US said the removal from Turkey follows a “review of global missile defense posture,” according to the joint statement. The Patriots will return to the US for modernization upgrades. While the systems will no longer be deployed to Turkey, the US will maintain an in-theater ability to redeploy missile defense capabilities, and is able to sustain the current deployment site at Gaziantep, Turkey, in a “cold-basing” status where the US could redeploy the Patriot system within one week. US Navy Aegis cruisers will also remain in the eastern Mediterranean to support NATO air and missile defense, US and Turkish officials said. The decision to pull out the US Patriot system comes seven months after the Netherlands ended the deployment of its own Patriot systems to Turkey.