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Turkey reiterates NATO missile stance
Fri, 19 Nov 2010 14:44:50 GMT
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Turkish President Abdullah Gul
Ankara says NATO's planned missile system in Europe must not be aimed at Iran, suggesting that members of the Western military alliance have agreed on the issue.

"We are categorically opposed to have a country named (as a threat) and our request appears to have been accepted," Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Friday ahead of the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, AFP reported.

"Turkey cannot join a project that is aimed at a specific country," Gul said, stressing that NATO is a defensive alliance to protect its members against ballistic powers and not an organization mandated "to intimidate and threaten."

"The project must cover all (NATO) members without exception... It will not be aimed at Iran, we said it," the Turkish president told reporters before leaving Ankara, expressing hope that the request would be endorsed by other NATO allies in Lisbon.

Leaders of NATO's 28 member states were to convene in the Portuguese capital on Friday and Saturday to discuss plans to launch a new Europe-wide ballistic missile system.

The US and Israel have been running a campaign to rally support from other member states and convince them that Iran should be targeted as a specific ballistic menace in the public document they adopt.

However, Turkey has made it clear that it will not sign up to a NATO document that names Iran as the threat in the final declaration.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters on Monday that there was "no reason to name specific countries."

The Islamic Republic maintains its military prowess is not aimed at any special countries but insists it reserves the right to use all its capabilities to defend itself against incursions.

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