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TURKEY: Ankara suspicious that Israel's security behind U.S. push for regional missile shield

Ballistic_Missile_Defense_System_(BMDS)_ Is the United States using NATO to protect its special friend in the Middle East: Israel?

That's what Turkey suspects may be behind a U.S.-led push for an anti-missile defense system in Turkey, intended to ward off an Iranian attack.

According to a report published Monday in the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman, Ankara has sought and reportedly received explicit assurances from the U.S. that intelligence gathered using the missile shield's sensors will not be shared with Israel.

American officials have not been shy about fingering Israel's enemy, Iran, as the major reason for deploying the system, citing Iranian threats to Europe. But the article in Today's Zaman was rife with skepticism, pointing out that as a non-member, Israel is not eligible for protection from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

"In fact, given the unpredictability of the security situation across the globe, it is possible that the missile defense system could even be used against Israel some day in the future," the article said. "NATO is an organization that operates on the principle of collective defense and an attack on an ally is considered an attack on the entire alliance."

It wouldn't be the first time that the U.Ss. was torn between its allegiance to NATO and its historic friendship with Israel. When Israeli forces stormed a Turkish aid ship off Gaza in June, resulting in the death of nine Turkish activists, Turkey threatened to invoke the NATO Treaty, which could have obligated the U.S. to become involved militarily.

A recent United Nations report found that several of the Turks aboard the aid ship had been killed "execution-style" at close range, further souring Turkey on Israel just before the scheduled Nov. 19 NATO summit in Lisbon, during which Turkey is expected to make a decision on whether to allow elements of the the missile system to be deployed on its territory.

Steven Pifer, a senior fellow specializing in security at the Brooking Institution in Washington, said that any benefit to Israel from such a system was likely incidental.

"Certainly a radar site that looks from Turkey toward Iran would benefit Israel, but the Israelis are advanced in terms of their own missile defense system," Pifer told Babylon and Beyond. "I think that because of their position in the region, [the Turks] are nervous about singling out the Iranians as a threat."

In the recent past, Turkey has pursued an independent policy in the Middle East, maintaining good relations with Israel, its Arab neighbors and Iran. That position has come under strain as Turkish-Israeli relations deteriorate and Ankara strengthens its ties with Syria and Iran. Turkey has come under fire recently for continuing its booming trade with Iran despite sanctions that should be binding for all U.N. member states.

The proposed ballistic missile defense system would be rolled out in two phases. The first would entail the deployment of U.S. Navy ships equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors in the eastern Mediterranean sometime in the next two years. The second would see the erection of a land-based radar site in Turkey by 2015.

Turkey initially objected to the new missile shield on grounds that the wording of the agreement singled out Iran as a threat. Not only does Turkey wish to maintain its friendship with Iran, but Iranian hostilities toward the West are increasingly seen as having roots in American and European support for Israel.

An editorial in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News slammed both the Turkish and American sides for being disingenuous in their political games, accusing Turkey of trying to gloss over the "inconvenient truth" about Iran while the U.S. plays the Armenian-genocide card in an effort to pressure Ankara.

"Multi-billion dollar missile defense systems may be much loved by military planners, engineers and defense contractors ... but as a defense in the age of terrorism, these technologically dubious designs are worthless," the article concluded. "We need a believable defense against 21st-century threats."

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: A Standard Missile-3 is launched from the U.S. cruiser Lake Erie. Credit: U.S. Navy via Wikimedia Commons

Comments () | Archives (14)

@sam
Thanks for your candid answer. It's very clear to me that you're a mensch.
If only your leaders were only 1/10 of you, things wouldn't be so bad in that region.
But you're right the extremist radical Muslin also plays a pivotal role in the violence.
Now I bid you farewell.

@joe w. greetings.
my previous reply to you didn't seem to make the trip,so a short reply to your question,i dont think that you have read any of my previous comments,but i have always said that the arab/muslims,who just wish to get on and practice their faith in peace and quiet, i do not have a problem with,and never have,infact i think you will notice that i do say radical,not all muslim followers,i grew up with arab friends but as the radical element became stronger,they would warn off our arab friends via their family telling them it would be safer for them if they didn't mix with jews and so on,yes i'm jewish born in israel and my home is here even though i do have family and friends in another country and i am lucky enough to be able to travel oftern to see them in what i like to call my second home,no i do not live in the west bank but i do have friends there,for many years not ultra ortherdox,and not looking for trouble and they do get on with any-body who will let them,but all can see that ahmadinejad and the people who follow him only wish to promote as much hate as they can and of course the bully boys are always there to make sure the sheep and brain washed cheer and carry out this murders orders,these are the people that we have fought against and always will,they dont just hate us,america is well aware that israel is its only friend in the middle east,and we are happy to be so but if we are pushed to far we will react,lets not forget that a huge amount of converts,will find them-selves in battle wondering what they have got into,but the radicals just want to use them as cannon fodder,while they hide in their holes dressed as women. i hope my reply answers your question? thank you.

The proposed ballistic missile defense system would be rolled out in two phases. The first would entail the deployment of U.S. Navy ships equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors in the eastern Mediterranean sometime in the next two years. The second would see the erection of a land-based radar site in Turkey by 2015.

Turkey initially objected to the new missile shield on grounds that the wording of the agreement singled out Iran as a threat. Not only does Turkey wish to maintain its friendship with Iran, but Iranian hostilities toward the West are increasingly seen as having roots in American and European support for Israel.

An editorial in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News slammed both the Turkish and American sides for being disingenuous in their political games, accusing Turkey of trying to gloss over the "inconvenient truth" about Iran while the U.S. plays the Armenian-genocide card in an effort to pressure Ankara.

"Multi-billion dollar missile defense systems may be much loved by military planners, engineers and defense contractors ... but as a defense in the age of terrorism, these technologically dubious designs are worthless," the article concluded. "We need a believable defense against 21st-century threats."

@joe w. greeting i have tried to send you a full reply but keep getting la times message cant accept data even though it shows as posted,but no security letter to copy prior to being accepted,i have e-mail la times if it does not get to this page i will try again in 24 hours.
best wishes. thank you for your question.
thank you.

@sam
Why do you think that all Arabs want to see all the Jews dead?
I am neither, Palestinian, nor Arab, or Jew, I am an American. But you made a bold statement. I want you to elaborate more. Are you a West Bank settler?
You began your statement with a negative tone. I just want to know why all this hatred.

@joe w
there can be no peace with the arab/muslims.
because the radical muslim terrorists will not be happy until all jews are dead,we do not call on america or its might to sort out our problems,and money given to israel is money well spent,as far as the usa is concerned israel is americas only true friend in the middle east and the usa know this,we are americas buffer and ears,its a shame that we have to defend our-selves against american weapons sold to terrorists,but weapons=cash,and the radicals have plenty due to their booming drug trade,yes i know its not only american weapons that have been sold or fallen into the wrong hands worl-wide, the same guns and bombs that are being used against us all, by the bad elements and the usa knows all about this. thank you.

@ precigil
The U.S. has a soft spot for Israel. They know it and take advantage of it. But, I don't think they control America.
After all some Americans believe that the U.S.A. is the new Jerusalem!
Now to the subject at hand: Israel is the bully of the Middle East, because they know that they have Uncle Sam to back them up, with our all might and resources.
I think that is high time that Israel learns how to play ball with its neighbors.
Abandons its occupation and dismantles its settlements on the Palestinians' land.
And then peace will prevail.

The types of relationships we have with unfavorable allies have just started to show its repercussions. Recently when a US delegate confronted a Chinese diplomat about Beijing's uncompromising support for Pakistan, the Chinese reportedly responded with a heavily-loaded sarcastic remark: \"Pakistan is our Israel\". But judging by China's unrelenting support for some of its allies, including North Korea, Burma, Zimbabwe and Sudan, its protective arm around these countries is no different from the US and Western political embrace of Israel - right or wrong.

the turks are just the same as their murdering muslim neighbours they just wear a different hat,and will at a moments notice turn on the usa and its friends,as soon as they dont get their own way,or until its decided they and the rest of the arab/muslims, world-wide think they are strong enough to dictate to the rest of the world,they are doing this already,but people are just to stupid to notice it or dont want to see whats going on,the muslims and their friends love to cause problems for not only israel but the rest of our world,turkey is just another barbaric blot on the country side.wake up, thank you.

Whether or not Turkey is correct in its suspicions is uncertain, but the decades-old American policy of aligning itself with Israel would certainly fuel Turkey's concerns. One need only to look at our record in the U.N. Security Council to see the extent to which we have gone in the past to protect Israel on some relatively "soft" issues. If we have a history of such protection, it is hardly surprising that we would extend that protection to "hard" military issues, such as a missile defense system. In our selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and other Arab natiions in the region, we have always made certain that the weapons and electronics systems of such sales have been below the capability of our same-weapon sales to Israel.

One of those killed execution-style on the Gaza-bound ship was an American citizen, not that you would know that from the U.S. media.

A former Jewish leader's comment:"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." - Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.


It's all about military contractors getting huge chunk of US tax money for toys, there are lot of hype about rigged tests which successfully can destroy a missile, fact of matter is no long range or short range missile have been successfully been intercepted in battlefields so far, Iraqi Scuds or Lebanon Katyushas are examples of such, and yet to see a successful anti-missile at work in battlefields!
"A recent United Nations report found that several of the Turks aboard the aid ship had been killed "execution-style" at close range"
Including a US citizen and yet no headline news anywhere in US media's! Lets see what will Turkey do during NATO meeting in November!

US legal prohibition makes funding countries which proliferate weapons of mass destruction illegal. Acknowledgment of Israels nuclear arsenal would prevent it from receiving more than $4 billion each year in military and other aid from Washington. Why are we going against our own laws on this matter? Why do we give Israel more money than all other nations combined? US tax payers can't afford this spoiled childs crazy allowance!!! And it's ILLEGAL!!!


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