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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Patriot removals from Turkey underscore differences over Syria among allies

Patriot PAC-2At a time when the US has convinced Turkey to actively participate in the US-led coalition against the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and receive expanded access to Incirlik air base after several months of negotiations, Washington's decision to withdraw Patriot missile batteries from Turkey has caught Turkish officials off guard.

The New York Times reported last week that Turkish authorities were “livid” when they heard about the US's decision to withdraw two Patriot missile batteries from Turkey's Gaziantep province.

The Patriots were deployed there as part of NATO's “Active Fence” mission to enhance Turkey's air defense against a possible threat from the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to The New York Times, the US made its decision several months ago but didn't share this with Turkey until it reached a deal with Turkey on cooperation against ISIL on July 22.

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