US deploys final Patriots in Turkey

US deploys final Patriots in Turkey

The last batch of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles owned by the United States have been deployed in the city of Gaziantep in southern Turkey, according to the Cihan News Agency.

Last autumn Ankara requested that NATO provide defense systems to protect against a possible air attack by Syria.

The NATO Council decided to go ahead with their placement on December 4, 2012.

The U.S., the Netherlands and Germany agreed to provide Turkey with surface to air missile (SAM) batteries in the amount of two from each country.

Patriot missile in Turkey hits the first target

The EU has proposed to conduct another round of negotiations in February between Iran and the six world powers, a group of international brokers on the issue of the Iranian nuclear program. This was announced by Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton. The place for the meeting is currently being determined. This issue has turned out to be quite complicated. Stanislav Tarasov, a political analyst, has made an attempt to clarify the reason.

The meeting between Iran and the six-nation negotiating group was scheduled for the end of January. But it was postponed due to the fact that the parties failed to agree on the venue. Prior to that, it had been announced that the negotiations were to take place in Istanbul, but then Iran suggested moving them to Cairo. “Turkey does not deserve to host the negotiations between Iran and the ‘5+1’ group”, exclaimed Mansur Haqiqat-pur, the vice-chairman of the Majilis Foreign Policy and Security Commission, to describe the tense situation.

Earlier, Turkey actively supported Iran's peaceful nuclear program, spoke against the introduction of anti-Iranian economic sanctions by the West and quite successfully fulfilled its mission as a broker in the dialogue between Iran and the “six”. As is well known, the first round of negotiations of that format specifically took place in Istanbul on April 14, 2012. Despite the fact that that meeting did not result in any breakthrough decisions, the main thing was that the parties announced their intension to continue the dialogue. Prior to the Istanbul talks there had been no negotiations between Iran and the “six” for over a year.

However, afterwards relations between Teheran and Ankara started deteriorating. At the end of last year Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cancelled a planned visit to Turkey under the pretext of “unexpected changes in his schedule”, despite the fact that the parties had planned to discuss many important issues, including the situation in Syria. There was only one reason: the deployment of the NATO Patriot complexes in the vicinity of the Syrian border. Shortly afterwards the Iranian service of the Deutsche Welle news agency made the following statement, “Iran refuses Turkey's broker services”. It also forecast a deterioration of relations between the two countries, primarily in the sphere of economic cooperation.

The forecast was correct. A few days ago Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz stated that Teheran refused to discuss with Ankara the new prices for the delivery of natural gas. According to the contract of 1996, Iran annually supplies 30 billion cubic meters of gas to its neighbor Turkey. Ankara counted on the Western economic sanctions against the supply of Iranian oil making Teheran more flexible regarding the price of its oil and gas, but it miscalculated. And Turkey cannot stop buying Iranian gas without a major damage to its economy. Iran is one of Turkey's top ten trading partners and up until recently, the trade volume between the two countries reached 20 billion USD annually.

Recently Turkey and Iran considered that factor to be the basis for a long-term cooperation. However, it seems that their different attitudes towards the crisis in Syria and the deployment of the NATO Patriot missiles have seriously changed what yesterday appeared to be an indestructible and mutually beneficial partnership.