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NATO Anti-Missile Radar in Turkey Put into Operation

RIA Novosti

10:44 17/01/2012 MOSCOW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) - A NATO missile defense radar deployed in Turkey has been put into operation, CNN quoted a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

The X-band AN/TPY-2 early warning radar is part of the THAAD system designed to intercept medium-range missiles at very high altitudes. It is located at a military base in the eastern province of Malatya, some 400 miles southeast of the capital Ankara, and is manned by both Turkish and U.S. personnel, the spokesman said.

He did not specify when the radar was put into operation. Earlier this month, Turkish daily Hurriyet quoted sources as saying it became operational on January 1.

Turkey is among the five countries that agreed to host parts of a U.S.-European missile defense shield. The others are Portugal, Poland, Romania and Spain.

Ankara and Washington have said the radar will help provide early warning of missile threats coming from outside Europe.

NATO members agreed to install a missile shield over Europe to protect against ballistic missiles launched by so-called rogue states, for example Iran and North Korea, at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010.

Russia has strongly criticized NATO’s reluctance to provide written, legally binding guarantees that its European missile shield will not be directed against Moscow. President Dmitry Medvedev ordered in Novemebr a series of measures designed to strengthen the country’s missile defense capabilities in response to NATO’s shield, including the deployment of Iskander missiles in Russia's exclave of Kaliningrad on the border with Poland.

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