Netherlands may send missiles to Turkey

The Netherlands and Germany may send missiles to help defend Turkey’s borders from unrest in Syria.

An image grab that was taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on August 27, 2012 showing a burning Syrian combat helicopter crashing. Picture: AFP

AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands and Germany may send Patriot missiles to NATO-ally Turkey to help defend the country's border with Syria, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Sunday, citing the Dutch defence minister.

Turkey has said it has intensified talks with NATO allies on how to shore up security on its 900-km frontier with Syria after mortar rounds fired from Syria landed inside its territory.

"NATO does not exist for nothing," ANP quoted Dutch Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert as saying.

A Dutch Defence Ministry spokesman said: "There is no request but the Netherlands and Germany are the only countries in Europe with Patriots."

The Dutch minister spoke to her German counterpart last week about a possible deployment, ANP said.

A spokesman for Germany's Defence Ministry said on Saturday NATO would consider any request from Turkey and confirmed that the United States, the Netherlands and Germany were the countries that had the appropriate Patriot missiles available.

Turkey will formally ask NATO on Monday to set up missiles on its border with Syria due to growing concern about spill over from the civil war in its neighbour, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Saturday.

NATO has said it will do what it takes to protect and defend Turkey. Turkey has said it is talking to its NATO allies about a possible deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles.

NATO ambassadors would have to consider any request from Turkey and they have a regular weekly meeting on Wednesday but they could call a special one at any time. European Union defence and foreign ministers will be in Brussels on Monday for meetings.