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Kurecik (Melatya), Turkey

A NATO ally since 1952, Turkey continues to make important contributions to vital US national security interests, particularly in its support for regional missile defense with the AN/TPY-2 radar site located in eastern Turkey as well as ongoing counter-terrorism operations. Throughout 2012, European Command continued to improve its ballistic missile defense (BMD) readiness for the defense of Israel and Europe. In particular, 2012 saw the AN/TPY-2 radar—on-line at Kürecik, Turkey, since 2011—transition to NATO control as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to missile defense. The faciilty at Kurecik (Melatya) is one of four nodal comunications sites, along with Katates (Adana) , Mahmurciaq (Semeun), and Aiemdag {Istanbuh.

A team of researchers with ERDC’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) have provided technical solutions for winter operations to safeguard Soldiers from frigid temperatures while serving at the Kürecik Radar Site, Turkey. During the winter of 2011-2012, extreme windblown snow fall and low temperatures seriously impacted support and habitability of temporary facilities at the Kürecik Radar Site, located at high elevation in Turkey. The site will face another winter before more permanent facilities are in place.

To mitigate winter impacts and improve quality of life for the Soldiers operating the radar site, a team of CRREL researchers provided technical solutions for winter operations and site planning through the U.S. Army Europe, Deputy Chief of Staff, Engineer. The CRREL team used a combination of photos and satellite imagery to determine snow and wind patterns, since only anecdotal weather data was available. Initial products included recommendations on protecting temporary troop sheltering from high winds and snow drifting, and building design guidance to minimize the impact of snow on the permanent facilities planned for construction next year.

Turkey has gone from striving for ‘zero problems with its neighbors’ to being faced with missile threats from three directions. The Arab Spring, Turkey’s position on Syria and its decision to host the NATO radar have resulted in this situation. Iran is aggravated by Turkey’s stance on Syria, which is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It is also infuriated by Ankara’s recent decision to host NATO’s early warning radar missile system in Turkey’s southeast. Tehran sees this plan as a US-led plot to protect Israel against a possible counterattack by Iran, in the event that Israel targets Iran’s nuclear facilities. It is now threatening to make the radar its first target in the event of an attack.

Relations with Syria soured over Turkey’s harsh criticism of the Assad regime, its calls for Assad to step down and its call for tough sanctions on Syria. Turkey is also sheltering about 7,500 opponents of the Assad regime in its Hatay province (on the border with Syria). One of them is Riad al-Assad, a Syrian army colonel who heads a group of army deserters who carry out attacks within Syria. In return, Syria has now reportedly deployed SAM and SCUD missiles near the Turkish border after having recently tested its SCUD B missiles. Meanwhile, Russia opposes the planned missile defense system, which it worries could threaten its own nuclear missiles or undermine its deterrence capability. Russia announced that it was ready to deploy intermediate range Iskander missiles and a new radar warning system against incoming missiles in Krasnodar, from where it can hit one third of Turkey.

Russia has said that it reserves the right to strike NATO’s European shield radars (to be placed in Turkey, Spain, Romania and Poland) unless it was given clear, written guarantees that the missile defense capabilities will not be targeted against its strategic capability. Russia also wants both sides to operate a joint missile shield; NATO wants to keep the two systems separate, but share information with Russia.

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Page last modified: 19-10-2013 19:02:27 ZULU