Erdogan rebuffs claims Turkey insisted on having command of NATO anti-missile system
Turkey's demand that it have full access to the command system of NATO's planned missile shield over Europe is not meant to be an insistence that it have command of the system on its own, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday. Details on the command issue have yet to be worked out, Erdogan told reporters when asked about an Israeli media report claiming that Turkey had embraced the idea of a missile shield only after the US and other allies had assured it that "the missile base will come under the command of a Turkish general." "We have always stated that the command issues should be entirely under NATO," Erdogan said. Days before last weekend's NATO summit in Lisbon, which wrestled with the missile shield issue, Erdogan said that among other "sensitivities" on the issue, Turkey also expects clear answers to technical questions such as who will have command and who will push the button. In Lisbon, NATO diplomats said details such as command and control will be worked out later. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu refused to comment on the report by Israeli website DEBKAfile, which claimed that a "Turkish general in command of the NATO missile shield cannot be expected to regard threatening missile action by Iran, Syria or Hizballah in the same light as would President Obama or NATO Secretary-General Andres [sic] Fogh Rasmussen."