NATO patriots to cost Turkey TL 15 million annually
Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has stated that the Patriot missile batteries deployed by NATO countries along the Turkish-Syrian border are expected to cost Turkey TL 15 million annually. Yilmaz visited the southern provinces of Adana and Kahramanmaras on Saturday together with his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, and Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert to inspect the batteries provided by these countries at Turkey's request. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also scheduled to visit the same area as part of her two-day visit to Turkey on Sunday. During the visit the defense ministers received an operational briefing by the Dutch and German Patriot commanders and also met with local Turkish officials and military officers. Expressing gratitude to his Dutch and German counterparts for their support, Yilmaz said he was pleased with NATO's contribution following Turkey's request to reinforce its air defenses. Asked to comment on the cost of the NATO Patriots deployed in Turkey, Yilmaz noted that there is an equitable sharing of costs, saying: "Setting up a substructure is our [Turkey's] responsibility, and the other expenditures pertain to the countries involved. We are expecting to pay TL 15 million annually." The Netherlands and Germany sent two Patriot batteries each after NATO agreed in December to a Turkish request for the ability to shoot down hostile missiles mid-air from civil war-torn Syria. The Dutch batteries were deployed in Adana, while the German batteries were sent to Kahramanmaras. The US has also sent a pair of Patriots, which were deployed in the province of Gaziantep.