NATO to deploy AWACS planes in Turkey

Germany announces plans to send several AWACS aircraft to Turkey to be stationed at Konya Air Base

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Several AWACS aircrafts to be stationed in Konya Air Base.

Germany Defense Ministry deputy spokesman Boris Nannt said on Monday that several AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) planes stationed in the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) Air Base in Geilenkirchen, western Germany, will be sent to the Konya Air Base in following days.

“This will be an absolutely defensive measure,” Nannt said at a press conference in Berlin, adding that the NATO is still planning the timeframe and the number of planes that it will station in Turkey.

He also said that German soldiers will also contribute to the mission.

AWACS aircrafts are mobile, long-range radar surveillance and work as a control centre for air defence through which an airborne computer can assess enemy action and keep track of the location and availability of any aircraft within range.

Germany provides 30 percent of the personnel of NATO’s AWACS force which has around 300 soldiers at the Geilenkirchen base.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said the government has informed Bundestag, the German parliament, about the details of the planned mission.

NATO allies decided on December 18 to tighten the Turkish air defense after ongoing civil war in Syria and raised tensions between Turkey and Russia after the downing of a Russian SU-24 fighter jet on November 24. Russian Federation had violated the Turkish airspace twice alone in the month of October.

NATO also offers Turkey enhanced air policing and increased naval presence, including port calls, exercises and maritime patrol aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean.

After Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, NATO intensified its deployment in the Baltic region but Russia conducted a campaign of air strikes against DAESH terrorist group in Syria on September 30.

However, an American top diplomat had previously said that 85-90 percent of Russia's air strikes hit moderate opposition positions instead of DAESH. 

Amnesty International also released a report last week that shows Russia has hit civilians in Syria.

Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International said, “Some Russian air strikes appear to have directly attacked civilians or civilian objects by striking residential areas with no evident military target and even medical facilities, resulting in deaths and injuries to civilians.”

TRTWorld and agencies